As you walk through the sliding doors of the Berwick Leisure Centre, you can hear the familiar sounds of “We Go Together” wafting through the doors. Everyone knows this song, everyone loves this song. In fact, there’s a good chance I’m going to leave here tonight with it stuck in my head, dreaming of pink hair, hairspray and tight, leather pants.
Whether you love the original film or you’ve seen the stage show, I don’t think for a second you’d turn down the chance to see Windmill’s Grease. It’s one of those shows that sends waves of nostalgia through everyone, whether it be memories of watching the film as a kid, or singing “The Grease Megamix” during the final, dying minutes of your brother’s 21st birthday party.
But if there’s one thing that Windmill’s Grease boasts, it’s the way directors, Karen Ingwersen and Robert Harvey, have approached the classic. Ingwersen, normally a choreographer, has taken to the stage as a director for the first time. The pair decided to collaborate shortly after the Windmill Theatre Company committee had decided on Grease as their next show. Harvey (a “seasoned director” as described by Ingwersen) is no stranger to directing, having directed several Windmill and Dandenong Theatre Company performances. Both directors decided that after the company’s array of tragic musicals (Jesus Christ Superstar, Miss Saigon, Les Misérables), it was about time they did a show where no one died.
Although Windmill has tackled Grease in the past (1988 and 2005 respectably), Ingwersen and Harvey promise a performance that is bigger, better and with a bit more vigor. You can still expect the same boy meets girls story, but you will be pleasantly surprised at how the show has been revamped.
Firstly, the show celebrates fresh, new choreography, all thanks to Robert Mulholland. His contemporary moves give the show that pinch of something that really makes it stand out. “Instead of just doing the typical steps for what we consider a typical Grease step, he’s just tried to make variations on that and modernised it a bit”, says Ingwersen, “He plucks stuff out of nowhere”. I have been sworn to secrecy, but I’m going to guess that “Greased Lightening” is going to be your favourite.
Character and relationship development has been Inwgersen and Harvey’s main focus, “We’ve spiced up the characters a little bit, we’ve put a few little touches on the traditional way of portraying Grease. We’re not straying too far away from your Kenicke and your Rizzo, they’re classic icons,” says Ingwersen, “We would like to think that we’ve done a bit more in terms of character development, in terms of the relationships”.
And finally, there needs to be a mention of our two favourites: Sandy and Danny. When asked to describe the efforts of Sarah Power who is playing sweet Sandy, Ingerwsen simply says, “I just see Sandy”. Liam Kilgour is described by Harvey, through chuckles, as “such a shy, shrinking violet it’s hard to make him cocky…no, no he’s a natural and he’s taking to this like a duck to water. A role he was born to play.”
If there is one thing that you can wholeheartedly say about this production, it’s that everyone is having a blast. It’s difficult to sit still in your seat, whether you want to get up and sing or even try your luck at Mulholland’s dance moves, the cast genuinely look like they’re having a good time.
Full of energy and bringing you one of the world’s most well known masterpieces, get on down to see Windmill Theatre Company’s production of Grease at the Drum Theatre (Cnr Lonsdale & Walker Streets, Dandenong).
Performance dates: Friday 8 June 8pm, Saturday 9 June 8pm, Friday 15 June 8pm, Saturday 16 June 2pm (Matinee), Saturday 16 June 8pm, Friday 22 June 8pm, Saturday 23 June 8pm, Sunday 24 June 2pm (Matinee).
Bookings: www.drumtheatre.com.au OR 9771 6666.