01/12/2012 - 26/01/2013
GREASE is the Word at The Court Theatre
The Court Theatre is getting set to party like it’s 1959 with The Press Summer Season of GREASE.
The iconic musical will appear on The Court’s stage from December, co-directed by Ross Gumbley and Stephen Robertson with Richard Marrett as Musical Director.
“GREASE is The Court’s first full-scale musical in the shed,” says Gumbley. “In the new Addington theatre we have the capacity for a big cast, energetic dance numbers and – finally – can fit a full-sized hot rod on stage.”
GREASE follows Rydell High School’s Class of ‘59 as they navigate the world of drive-ins, hot rods and teen love. Matthew McFarlane and Lauren Marshall play Danny and Sandy, who fall in love during the summer but find themselves on opposite sides of the bleachers (and cliques) back in high school.
The cast have been sourced from throughout Australasia and GREASE will include performances by well-known entertainers Ali Harper and Nic Kyle as well as Shortland Street hunk Mike Edward as a guardian “Teen Angel”.
“The show is an infectious dose of nostalgia with some of the catchiest tunes in the songbook,” says Gumbley. “This production will positively burst off the stage.”
(On December 10 The Court Theatre will celebrate its first year in its new Addington theatre.)
Performances: 1 December 2012 – 26 January 2013
Show times: 6:30pm Mon/Thu, 7:30 Tue/Wed/Fri/Sat (2pm matinee Sat 27 October)
Venue: The Court Theatre, Bernard St, Addington
Tickets: Adults $55 | Senior $47 | Groups (20+) $45 | Under 25 $35 | Child $28
Bookings: 03 963 0870 or www.courttheatre.org.nz
Matthew McFarlane, Lauren Marshall, Martyn Wood, Rutene Spooner, Cameron Douglas, Michael Murphy, Lucy Porter, Jade Steele, Kathleen Burns, Fiona Crossett, Kelly Hocking, Adam Standring, Ali Harper, Mike Edward, Angela Hegarty, Nic Kyle, Tainui Kuru
Stage Manager: Cally Castell
Lighting Design: Grant Robertson
Set Design: Harold Moot
Sound Design: Ben Rentoul & Glen Ruske
Set Construction: Nigel Kerr, Richard van den Berg, Maurice Kidd, Richard Daem, Henri Kerr
Wardrobe Co-ordinator: Sarah Douglas
Properties: Anneke Bester
Lighting Operator: Darren McKane
SoundOperator: Stephen Compton
Production Manager: Mandy Perry
Infectious verve, irresistible songs, dashing personalities
Review by Lindsay Clark 02nd Dec 2012
Musical theatre at The Court has always been a great marker for summer and all the good things that go with a holiday season. The sheer scale typical of the genre has challenged the company’s resources many a time and the result has always been rewarded by warm applause.
The ecstatic roar which kept the cast returning for yet another bow and the extra round given to the band once the actors had cleared for the last time, was something else. The Court has cracked the nostalgia nut – a hard shell some would say – and has a well-deserved triumph on hand to see out 2012.
Teenage angst and antics don’t immediately appeal as material for the stage, even the musical stage where fabrication can charm its way into our hearts so winningly. Nor does the ‘greaser’ implication that a girl’s gotta do that girly stuff and the jock’s gotta do that macho stuff sit too comfortably with today’s perceptions.
Such is the colourful momentum of this production that it simply doesn’t matter. The story-line which clinches the 1959 romance of Sandy Dumbrowski and Danny Zuko at Rydell High School provides the framework for terrific song and dance numbers which boost student preoccupation with appearances and social acceptance from silly stuff to something totally engaging.
Co-directors Ross Gumbley and Stephen Robertson are able to draw from a vast reservoir of experience and together with the indefatigable Richard Marrett as musical director, deliver a stellar production. Robertson is also responsible for the dynamic choreography and costume design.
Completing the design team, Harold Moot contributes a set which places the band high up at the centre of things, with generous space for the emergence of various fifties icons, including, of course the wonderful ‘Greased Lightning’ motor. Lighting design from Grant Robertson achieves some marvellous effects with the high steeply-angled beams clinching many an effective sequence. Sound design is credited to Bounce NZ, Glen Ruske and Ben Rentoul. The fusion of these talents, backed by a huge team of backstage workers, fuels a night of high excitement.
There is room, though, for the skill and spirit of a vibrant cast to shine. As the Pink Ladies, the ‘in’ group which newcomer Sandy aspires to be part of, Jade Steele (Rizzo), Fiona Crossett (Frenchy), Lucy Porter (Jan), Kathleen Burns (Marty), Kelly Hocking (more an outsider as Patty) and Angela Hegarty (even more an outsider as Cha Cha ), are all fresh, funny and dazzling as song and dance require.
Firmly establishing the masculine, Martyn Wood (Sonny), Michael Murphy (Kenickie), Cameron Douglas (Doody), Rutene Spooner (Roger), Tainui Kuru (Jimmie ) and Adam Standring (Eugene, matching outsider for Patty) are a testosterone-charged match for the girls.
Matt McFarlane makes Danny Zuko his own with outstanding physicality and voice, while Lauren Marshall endows Sandy with all the sexy sweetness the show can take – and that is an extraordinary amount.
With secure support from Nic Kyle, Ali Harper and Mike Edward as the adults on the fringe of it all, the show is non-stop entertainment. Its infectious verve, irresistible songs and dashing personalities light up stage and audience alike. That ‘we can be who we are’ feeling and the assertive right to the ‘time and the place and the motion’ are sure winners.
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