Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Monday, 17 October 2011
Grease 2 - Live in Concert, Chapel off Chapel, Oct 13, 2011 **1/2
Produce by Stage Art
Chapel off Chapel, Oct 11- 22, 2011
Reviewed by: Kate Herbert Stars: ** 1/2 Published in Herald Sun on Oct 19, 2011and on line at heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts
GREASE 2, the 1982 movie sequel starring Michelle Pfeiffer, was a disastrous critical and financial flop but it now attracts a cult following of those who think B Grade is funny.
Grease 2–Live in Concert is a parody of, as well as a tribute to the failed, high school musical movie and it combines songs from the movie with others from the period and with original choreography (Joel Anderson, Nadia Gianinotti).
The music is the feature of this show with a tight, five-piece band led by Drew Downing, and powerful voices including Josh Piterman and Melanie Ott in lead roles.
As Michael the daggy English boy who turns into a cool biker, Piterman is comical and sexy in Who’s That Guy? and Ott belts out a fine version of Cool Rider and other songs.
Gemma Purdy is a sassy Paulette, Tara Kabalan and Lauren Edwards are cute and perky Sorority Twins and Daniel Mottau is a slick and dangerous Johnny the leather-clad, T-Bird biker.
Director, Karl McNamara, creates an entertaining, playful series of vignettes with plenty of colour and movement in a show that will appeal to aficionados of the original film for whom there are plenty of in-gags.
Being a concert version there is no dialogue and this stops the narrative and characters developing effectively through the cycle of songs.
The giant, glitter-laden letters G.R.E.A.S.2, are a simple design feature. However they occupy the back half of the stage and such cramped staging forces performers to the front and leaves no space to define scenes.
The choreography is often busy and the lead characters are not highlighted until almost interval.
The parody of bad acting works in part only and the actors are often pulling faces in caricatures rather than playing characters, but the show has some clever dance scenes and several strong, vocal and comical performances.
Produce by Stage Art, at Chapel off Chapel, Oct 11- 22, 2011