As one of the best-known, best-loved musicals out there, Grease is an ambitious starting point for this newly-formed production team. Yet these fresh faces on the theatrical block are proving themselves more than up to the daunting task.
The Happily Ever Society is a group “dedicated to all things cheesy and cheerful.” But while their fluffy outlook is not limited to the stage – they intend to hold “lots of fancy dress socials, movie nights, day trips and exciting things like that.” – it does not get in the way of professionalism. Three weeks before their performance and the choreography is already slick enough to make you want to dance along, and at eleven o’clock on a Saturday morning the singing is impressive, if slightly tired.
Producer Sam Daunt tells me that, along with her co-producer Catrin Jones, she chose Grease because “everyone knows it”, but stressed that she is sticking to the script of the original musical, rather than taking inspiration from the film. The famous tunes, projected across Central Hall using 20 microphones and a brand new sound system, are sure to have the audience singing under their collective breath as they tap their feet to the infectious energy of both old favourites and new songs alike.
Daunt says that, despite the need for intensive rehearsals until the first night, she is personally thrilled with the performances that the cast are giving, in particular those of her lead actors.
The cast are mostly experienced performers, although neither Sam McCormick nor Sophie Louise Brown, who play Danny and Sandy, have had the opportunity to perform in Central Hall before. This, however, does not seem to daunt either the cast or the production team who will have only a week to rehearse in central hall.
Sam McCormick, who plays the role of Danny, was quick to speak of how much he enjoyed the musical. He was backed up by Dan Sofaer, Kenickie, who said “the cast are a really great bunch of people. I’m really enjoying all the stereotypical cheesiness, although the incessant hip thrusting is doing my back in slowly”.
It is a tribute to the working relationship between cast and crew that this production is already so well oiled. It is clearly invaluable that the production team have worked on other university productions and will help ensure that the necessary polish is added to Daunt’s vision without too much drama.
The rehearsals for the production started last year, but considering they were on hiatus over the summer holidays the high standard of acting is impressive. Although the choreography is not yet perfect, the rehearsals are bursting with energy: with three weeks to go until the performance there seems to be more than enough time for smoothing any rough edges, making this production truly electrifying.
Despite the pressure for the cast in doing such a well known play, it seems that that the magic of Grease and the talents of those involved will ensure that this performance is well worth a watch. In the words of Sam McCormick, “Grease is the word”
Grease is being performed in Central Hall on 13, 14 and 15 November at 7.30 pm.