REVIEW: Grease, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, until July 8.

Tom Parker (Danny) and Danielle Hope (Sandy) Photo by Paul Coltas
Tom Parker (Danny) and Danielle Hope (Sandy) Photo by Paul Coltas

Grease was the word; clearly still is the word; and probably always will be.

Half the fun is that instant familiarity; the rest comes from a talented cast giving it all they’ve got as they transport us back to 1950s high-school America for a tale of true love going off the rails before finally getting back on track.

Sound problems in the first half left it all seeming just a touch muted and a little flat on occasion on Tuesday night, but things perked up considerably in the second half, thanks to a massive injection of sheer star quality from Jimmy Osmond as Teen Angel.

Osmond hams it up beautifully, oozing the charisma which lifts the night through to its conclusion. You’ve either got it or you haven’t; and Jimmy just drips it.

Elswhere, Over The Rainbow winner Danielle Hope gives us plenty of sweet, frustrated innocence as Sandy; and EastEnders’ and Strictly Come Dancing’s Louisa Lytton lets us into the vulnerability behind Rizzo’s aloofness.

Tom Parker, from the UK’s top boy band THE WANTED, is almost there as Danny, needing just to up the swagger a little to really nail the part. In fairness, the sound problems didn't help.

But throw it all together, mix in those terrific songs, and it’s still the musical which passes the test of time every time – a great trip back to when we were all that young.

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