musical, grease, grease live, tv event, fox

Greased Lightning or Train Wreck? Grease Live

We all know the classic storyline, grew up watching it every Christmas and summer holiday. Sandy falls in love with Danny during their summer break. They accidentally re meet at school, but because he is a T Bird (one of the cool kids) he blows her off, upsets her. Sandy is a sweet wholesome girl, who has never done anything bad in her life. Yet when she gets involved with the Pink Ladies (the female version of the T Birds) things will start to change. As they try to get her to drink, pierce her ear making her faint from the blood, she starts to see there is more to life then just being a good girl. Eventually making the epic transformation we see in the final scenes of the show. Rizzo is the Pink Lady bitch who is always teasing Sandy. Frenchie is the beauty school drop out who tries to be everyone’s friend. Danny just can’t stop thinking about Sandy, so tries to do anything he can to get her back.

This new Fox version of the show I had heard countless bad reports about, so skipped it when it first aired. A few nights ago bored searching Netflix for a dance movie (yes it’s my guilty pleasure after a bad day at work), there were hardly any selections to choose from. Leaving me watching this, hoping it was better then the reviews said.

The opening quite excited me, watching the opening number sung all around the set, and parking lot. It was fresh, interesting, brought the viewer into the show. Even if I had to force myself to ignore the fact they were lip synching. Yet within minutes of the show starting properly I was greatly disappointed. Passionate vocal numbers were reduced to soulless, uninterested lip synched numbers. Dance routines were forced, overly polished. Every big dance number has that one person who is slightly out of time with the rest of the group. That one smile which isn’t as wide as everyone else’s. The human side of what makes these things work.

Where as here, we just explore a Glee inspired cast of B list actors whom I didn’t know and was not impressed enough by their talents to bother googling to find out who they were, pretending they know what they were doing. Performing dull dance routines, never actually emotionally connecting with the music or the lyrics. Disgusts me enough that we have moved to a talent less generation who can not cope with the action of singing while dancing, who have never even heard of the phrase CARDIO TRAINING! Which is why 90% of these soap box actors who gain a theatre contract end up leaving in months due to throat problems. They just do not have the skill or knowledge to do more then one thing at once. Trust me I know it’s hard to do both, to stop the breathlessness sounding in your vocals. I am an asthmatic who performs full dance numbers with vocals. After the director has called he 17th run through of Time Warp in a row you KNOW you have done a days work!

The other thing which greatly wound me up is the fact this is set in 1959, a time when black people were still referred to as coloured and were not allowed to marry a white person. Interracial Marriage was illegal for another eight years after this is set. Still the show has several mixed race relationships, throwing away historical value just to be an equal rights show. If they wanted true equality in the show, they should at least have thrown in an LGBTQ+ relationship. They could at least have made comment of the fact the people were HIDING their relationship, or commented on the historical side of it. Instead of brainwashing a whole generation that equality has been around forever.

I really can’t find anything redeeming about this production. Even the skirts that Sandy wear as a cheerleader are modern, far too short for the good girl image she is famous for. Danny misses the cue on Greased Lightning, which still got into the produced piece. I hope that Fox gets no idea about remaking any more of the classic musicals we grew up with! I am deeply dreading what they will do to Rocky Horror after seeing this. It all just comes across as a bad am dram production.

Although I wish I could give a 0/5 star for this, I have to give it something so 1/5 it is. Kids, go and watch the REAL version of this film circa 1971. With actors who can actually cover the emotional remit of this production.

Sarah Beth James

@wickedwitchgal