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Well-Greased Show Returns

Well-Greased Show Returns

What: The Arena Spectacular
Where: Newcastle Entertainment Centre
Author: Anthony Scully
When: Tuesday June 23, 1998

FANS of the GREASE motion picture will love THE ARENA SPECTACULAR which returns to the Newcastle Entertainment Centre on Tuesday, June 23 and Wednesday, June 24.

This production, which made its unofficial world premiere in Newcastle in April, will not disappoint fans of the movie musical thanks to a strong cast that has mastered the songs.

Special mention should be made of the efforts of JANE SCALI, as the saccharine sweet Sandy, whose performance of HOPELESSLY DEVOTED TO YOU rivals even the soaring strength of OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN's rendition.

The other show stealer is ANTHONY WARLOW who, as the Teen Angel singing BEAUTY SCHOOL DROP OUT to Frenchy, uses his considerable stage presence and vocal range to great effect.

In fact, Warlow's effort is even more remarkable considering he spends most of the first and second acts in the ceiling with the band, to be suspended for his two appearances 10 metres over the stage dressed in a white jumpsuit and angel's wings.

It is a look Warlow pulls off with considerable style and good humour for a star of his calibre, and it lifts the production considerably.

As always, CRAIG MCLACHLAN stamps his own mark on the role, with his reading of Danny Zuko straying comfortably enough away from the JOHN TRAVOLTA to retain a comic punch.

DANNI MINOGUE's Rizzo exudes plenty of attitude, while MICHAEL CORMICK as Rizzo's man Kenickie also gives a great performance.

Like Minogue, TOTTIE GOLDSMITH as schoolmistress Miss Lynch is occasionally lost under make-up and a wig, so audiences will have to keep on their toes to follow these stars.

Seasoned rockers DOUG PARKINSON as Vince Fontaine and GLENN SHORROCK as Johnny Casino deliver some great 1950s rock and roll, and smooth acting.

The highlight of the show is the music and sound with the band perched high above the stage, where its rises like a flying saucer into the ceiling before the beginning of the first and second acts.

When the lights dim in the first act the group plays rock and roll music as if from a 1950s 'wireless', complete with a voice-over from Vince Fontaine, as the cast runs to the side of the stage to perform GREASE IS THE WORD. As the lights come up, the portable record player-shaped stage spins and tilts as the cast launches into its routines.

The principal characters are fitted out with radio headset microphones, freeing up their hands for gestures, which become very important in the large arena setting.

If they weren't already, audiences will go home coverted GREASE fans, humming the tunes with smiles on their faces.

A third and final Newcastle season has been announced, on Friday, July 17, at 8pm, and Saturday, July 18, at 3pm, at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre. Tickets on sale June 22. TE

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