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Grease - Stray Cats Theatre Company

Reviewed by Kate O'Sullivan


If you want a show full of enthusiastic performers, Grease never fails to please. Stray Cats Theatre Company have staged an enjoyable version of this classic show - with all the colour, vibrancy and classic tunes you'll know and love.

Karen Francis is known to pull together a large cast, and this show is no exception. It was nice to see numbers like "Summer Nights" and "Shakin’ At The High School Hop" with this large number of cast members, although the different levels of dance experience did show through. Vocal director Kristie Corbishley has drilled the harmonies through this entire cast, and it shows. The harmonies were well-balanced, even in a predominantly female-presenting cast.

It would be impossible to comment on all of the performances from this cast, but some should be highlighted for their character development and portrayals. Asha Perry and Bailey Bridgman-Peters as Sandy and Danny brought strong vocals and a nicely sweet relationship that felt fully realised. Rhiannon Francis as Frenchie and Jioji Nawanawa as Doody also developed a lovely relationship on the stage, with two performances that won the audience's hearts. Teaghan Lowry as Jan, Tori Brown as Patty and Matthias Zver as Eugene slipped into comedic roles that feel as though they are made for them and were swiftly audience favourites.

Whilst the show has a lot of strong, high-energy performances, there are moments where it seems to lack emotional weight. Lighting the full width of the stage in a wash for songs like "Hopelessly Devoted To You" and having the performers use so much of the wide stage made these numbers feel more performative and less emotionally driven. In such a high-energy, all-singing-all-dancing show, having these moments as ones of stillness and quiet would pull on the audience's emotions in a way that this show did not.

Costuming such a large cast is a mission in and of itself and in general, the costuming worked well across this show. The leads' costumes clearly identify the different characters for the audience, and the ensemble costumes were both cohesive and individual in the right way. The set for the most part is versatile, but due to its placement at the rear of the quite deep stage, there is often a disconnect between the audience and the performers. It would have been nice to see some of these moments, like "Mooning" as sung by Aramis Martino, brought further downstage so the audience could appreciate the vocals and performances. The lighting design is simplistic - lots of full stage washes - and did not add any atmosphere to the evening scenes or the more intimate moments. There were some timing issues with scene changes, especially those using the scrim, which will hopefully improve over the season. I would have loved to see more use of the fly tower, to give more verticality to the set, and to help to fill the large space.

Vanitha Hart's 'Rydell High Orchestra' sounded wonderful, as would be expected given some of the names present, but unfortunately their volume was not balanced well with the cast. This was especially obvious in "Summer Nights" at the start of the show.

On the whole, this show is worth attending for the performances. It's an enjoyable night out that will have you singing the songs in the car on the way home. Or even, like some patrons on opening night, dancing along in your seat. The season is sold-out, so if you want to see the show, you'll have to wait and see if any tickets become available.

Red poster with logo of red car driving into sunset with two silhouettes (one male one female). The word GREASE is across the front fender and bonnet. Additional text reads: Stray Cats Theatre Company in Community Partnership with Mandurah Performing Arts Centre presents.
Show Poster

Reviewer Note: Kate has previously performed with Stray Cats Theatre Company in 2012. Tickets were provided for this show by the theatre company.


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