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Theatre Review (Singapore): ‘Grease’ by Base Entertainment

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Base Entertainment presented Grease at the Marina Bay Sands Theatres that ran from 25th April to 18th May 2014.

grease

Grease the musical came first in 1971 before the famous film of the same name screened in 1978, although many people probably know the film version better.

This offering at Marina Bay Theatres was the musical Grease, and the first thing you’ll notice is that the film version followed the musical version very closely. With tight direction, toe tapping melodies, funny lyrics, great acting, and wonderful singing, one thing is true – Grease still entertains 40 years later.

Grease tells the tale of a bunch of students from Rydell High School (Chicago in the play; California in the film) set in the late 50’s. The boys in the tale are in a group called the T-Birds, and the girls form the Pink Ladies. Enter newly transferred Australian student Sandy, who in time realises her summer fling Danny is part of the T-Birds. However, as she tries to pick up where their romance left off, she finds Danny indifferent to her.

All the songs most people know from John Travolta’s movie version Grease are sung here – and they sound even more vibrant and enticing because they are sung live with a band. One of the songs especially, “We Go Together,” was mesmerizing in choreography which had the performers dance together whilst singing the fast-paced lyrics.

The acting is good, the set changes seamlessly, and the costumes are perfect for that era. However, some of the dialogue lines seem to indicate that certain characters would’ve been nude or at least semi-nude if this musical was presented authentically. Perhaps the production company wanted a G rating.

Local Singaporean actress cum DJ Vernetta Lopez makes a cameo; however, her attempt at sporting a Southern drawl was unsuccessful because her Singapore accented base showed through and she sounded like a Singaporean rolling her R’s strongly. (On another note, why do so many Singaporean actresses and DJs think that as long as you roll your R’s, you sound genuinely “American”?)

Although in 2014, the storyline of Grease may be dated – (I mean come on, a girl changes her usual conservative self to be sultry and sexy, and the guy then wants her?!) – its songs prove that this musical will always be timeless because you can’t discount theatre that makes you hum and sing and move in your seat whilst you celebrate the fact that women are in a totally different place today.

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About Sharmila Melissa Yogalingam

Ex-professor, Ex-phd student, current freelance critic, writer and filmmaker.