Much like the hubcaps off Greased Lightning, my heart was stolen last night.
From the moment curtains rose on Rydell High, the Townsville Choral Society’s impeccable vocals and flawless costumes transported the audience back to the 50s – I quickly forgot that I was not in a milk bar and amidst the action, but instead at the opening night of Grease at the Townsville Civic Theatre.
Sean Thomas and Nina Lippmann’s portrayals of Danny and Sandy respectively were faultless – even without the incredible hair, makeup and costumes, their acting and vocals alone easily cement them as the lead couple. Seeing Thomas transform from the Manhattan squatter-come-filmmaker Mark in the company’s 2016 production of Rent to Grease’s high school cool guy is testament to how talented he is – a talent echoed in Lippmann, with leads in both Annie and Mary Poppins.
From the hyped-up hand jives to the pared back solos, the musical numbers each held their own, and highlighted the skills of the entire cast. Set transitions occurred unnoticed, as Katherine Shield as Ms Lynch and Brooke Maxey as her assistant Blanche drew full attention with their hilarious school announcements downstage.
Perhaps important for audiences to note, if they saw the Choral Society’s Rent last year, is that Grease stands in a world of its own. Although a few familiar faces reprise roles, the cast is a lot younger – we are at a high school after all. This just proves the calibre of talent in Townsville, with new local performers showcased in each new production.
A few special mentions:
Amelia Doolan’s Rizzo embodies every part of the character, from the stand-offish personality to a phenomenal singing voice. Local legend Max Lenoy also has his time to shine as Teen Angel, with a mic drop to end all mic drops in Beauty School Drop Out. Although mentioned earlier, Lippmann was a standout: Hopelessly Devoted to You showcases just how powerful her voice is, with no flashy dances or elaborate sets to hide behind, the audience was treated to a Broadway-worthy performance.
Whether you’ve seen the movie a thousand times or never at all, there is no doubt you know the words to at least half the songs in this musical. There is absolutely no excuse not to book a ticket during Grease’s short run at the Townsville Civic Theatre, because it surpasses expectations and will leave you screaming “Tell me more, tell me more!”
Grease runs from 8 – 18 February at the Townsville Civic Theatre. For show times and tickets, click here.