Grease at Wolverhampton Grand – Good Fun

A new touring production of the classic musical Grease opened at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre last night, and although it was a real crowd pleaser with the appreciative audience simply loving it, you may not recognise all the songs and scenes if you are a fan of the musical film version.

There can’t be anyone (my husband aside) who hasn’t seen the film version of this much loved musical at least once. The story of a holiday romance between Danny and Sandy, that is hampered by Danny’s ego and friends, and Sandy’s squeaky clean persona when she just happens to start at his school, Rydall High, after the summer, is one that is known and loved. Add in a score of memorable supporting performances from the likes of Rizzo, Kenickie and Frenchie and a score of sublime, singalong songs, and you have the failsafe recipe for success. Or maybe not.

The problem with this version of Grease is that some of the leads are not quite up to the roles. Danielle Hope is the standout as Sandy, her beautiful voice soars on ‘Hopelessly Devoted to You’, and she has Sandy’s saccharine sweetness off to a tee. She was born to play this role and does so with ease. Her Danny Zuco is not quite as successful. Tom Parker handles the acting scenes quite well, showing plenty of personality. He is also a talented dancer, showing off his skills during the sublime Hand Jive scene. Where he struggles is the vocals, he is just not up to the demands of the songs, Sandy in particular is painful to watch and listen to.

Louisa Lytton has her moments as Rizzo, her poise is so good in the opening scene, and her performance of ‘There are worse things I can do’ is plaintive and touching. But ‘Sandra Dee’ has none of the bite and sarcasm that Stockard Channing showed in the same role, and suffers as a result.

The supporting cast are great though, Tom Senior is a fine Kenickie and ‘Greased Lightnin’  is brilliantly performed. Rhiannon Chesterman is perfect as Frenchie, and her ‘Beauty School dropout’ scene is another standout, with George Olney super as the teen angel, playing it with his tongue firmly in cheek. Eugene (Callum Edwards), Jan (Rosanna Harris) and Doody (Ryan Heenan) are all funny and scene stealing, whilst Sonny and Marty (Michael Cortez and Lauren Atkins) both make the most of their roles.

The staging of the musical numbers is great, and having a live band on the stage is a real plus point, but ultimately the story feels very disjointed – Sandy seems to only have one date with Danny throughout the musical, and on all other occasions when she meets him he acts like a complete jerk, making it difficult to understand why she would make such a transformation for this guy, she should stick to her twee frock and make a move for Kenickie instead.

Grease has great songs, great supporting performances and a lovely lead in Danielle Hope, but it could have been so much more.

 

Tue 28 Nov – Sat 2 Dec

GREASE

Wolverhampton Grand

Click here for ticket information

 

Fashion At The Wednesbury Museum And Art Gallery

It’s always lovely when a fashion exhibition pops up virtually on your doorstep. The Hodson Shop collection was one such delight, and this summer I have found a small fashion exhibition in the town of my youth, Wednesbury, at the town’s beautiful museum and art gallery.

The exhibition is called ‘Clothes!’ and is taking place in the museums Nostalgia Rooms. It features a range of pieces from the 1959s, 1960s and 70s, along with memorabilia and old photographs of West Bromwich, Wednesbury and the surrounding areas from the same era.

I love the clothes that are featured, these pieces are not couture or designer pieces, but are instead the sort of clothes that your mother or grandmother might have owned and worn, really pieces of social history displayed within a context. I loved the purple maxi dress with long sleeves and high neck, my mom was a bridesmaid in 1973 and wore something very similar, and a dress of a similar colour that came from the 1950s, but would still look good today due to the classic style.

The 1960s explosion of fashion is well represented, with lots of printed and plain shift dresses in the style of Mary Quant and Pierre Cardin. And, just to prove that fashion is cyclical, and that styles do come around again and again, the exhibition has a maxi style dress and a tea dress that may be 1970s in origin, but certainly wouldn’t look out of place on today’s High Street.

The Clothes! exhibition is in the Nostalgia Rooms at the Wednesbury Museum and Art Gallery until the end of 2017. Entrance is free, and you could also check out the permanent toy exhibition and the beautiful Ruskin pottery whilst you are there,

Click here for more information.

A little black dress and a pair of red shoes

Trends come and trends go, but a little black dress is a timeless classic, destined to be around forever. It is a piece of clothing that will take you to any occasion (even acceptable for weddings these days) and it is something that never looks anything less than chic. We all agree that Coco Chanel was a fashion genius, but maybe her greatest gift to the world was making the little black dress something much more than funeral attire.

I don’t think I could count the amount of black dresses that I own, for both every day wear and evening attire. My latest favourite is the Lovedrobe pleated lace dress from JD Williams, a piece that manages to combine style and comfort beautifully in one elegant dress. This dress combines so many of my favourite features – lace, stretch fabric, a pleated skirt in a midi length, and a v neck style to balance out a bigger bust

Lovedrobe Pleated Lace Dress now £55 Click to visit JD Williams

This dress is really lovely, with close attention needed for the lace fabric, it is just so beautiful. The lace is layered over a block coloured lining in polyester that is again stretchy, making it comfortable to wear.

The Fabric is super pretty

The dress has a very vintage feel, with lots of echoes of the 1950s ‘New Look’ styles. There is a keyhole fastening on the back of the dress, but no fiddly side zips or fastenings, you can simply put this on by pulling it over your head, a real good point if you are in a hurry and trying to throw something on and leave quickly.

I really love this dress and how it makes me feel wearing it. It has such a glamorous, old Hollywood style to it, perfect for occasions when you really want to dress up. I have wore this dress on two different occasions, for the premiere of ‘The Red Shoes’ at the Birmingham Hippodrome (where I teamed it with red shoes and bag and won free cocktails for best dressed.) I also wore it for Valentine’s Day, where I continued the red shoes theme with Westwood Melissa’s and a vintage faux fur stole. I think the dress could be teamed with accessories of many different colours, as well as metallics for an updated look.

JD Williams have a great range of dresses that start at size 8 and go up to a size 34, which is brilliant. If you are looking for a dress for a particular occasion this year I would well recommend taking a look.