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DAOS took a risk in choosing Grease as their main production this year, but it certainly paid off in so many ways.

Lucy O’Hare and Ashley Mead are an indomitable force, which meant that for the most part the production and choreography were good and worked well, with Chris Young adding his experience as an MD to help coach the cast of mainly young people to reach their potential.  The energy and characterisations were all excellent – and there were some super performances.

I felt the set left a little to be desired – the steps were very steep, didn’t appear to have too many performance levels, and were very solid and centralised.  I am aware that there were problems with getting the required set, so on the whole it worked well.  There were a few overlong blackouts, which always takes the edge off the audience involvement in the show. I loved the car – it looked good and worked well for performing on.

Lighting was as always very imaginative, although I did notice a couple of times when a cast member wasn’t in the spotlight where it was placed, nicely done, but  a shame there isn’t more technical time to get these small things exactly right.  Sound was a little suspect at times, mics late being switched on – but sure this and lighting would have been noted, and be spot on for the remaining two performances.  That said, it always seems nothing short of a miracle for the crew to get the show set up and running in such a short time, so hats off to you all.

One of my most favourite performers Cameron Hay took the role of Danny- and accomplished so much, in all aspects, he can do no wrong for me – and he helped to keep the performance levels of the other male leads up to scratch, so that they made a nice tight group.  His singing, acting and dancing are all of a very high standard.

Cameron was well-matched by Katie Ross as the quiet and rather demure Sandy, who eventually comes out of her shell in The One That I Want.  Katie also has the advantage of being good on all three performance levels.  A lovely portrayal and I particularly liked the Hopelessly Devoted, and It’s Raining On Prom Night numbers – both very beautifully sung- with loads of expression, and a calm that contrasted so well with the rest of the upbeat numbers.

Helen Harris was the irrepressible Rizzo – turning in another fine and feisty performance.  I thought the dark hair really suited her and the part, and helped to create an edgy feel to her portrayal.  Helen had two solo numbers - Look At Me I’m Sandra Dee and There Are Worse Things I Could Do - and she really stood out in the way she put them over.

Alex Wheeler as the geeky Eugene, turned in a superb comedy performance,  Alex improves every time we see him.  He was well-matched on this occasion by Sophie Thomas as Patty, the cheer leader with verbal diarrhoea – they created a good and lively partnership.

The ‘boys’ – namely Terry Hooper as Doody, Stuart Gray as Roger and James Halling as Sonny, all turned in lively and believable performances as youngsters of that age, joined by the slightly more streetwise Kenickie played by Simon Rollings.

The Pink Ladies were a very feisty and contrasting crowd - Frenchy played by Kirsty Day, Marty by Yasmin Ryan and Jan by Amy Bianchi – all gave us really good interpretations which I loved.

Of the “adults” within the cast I enjoyed the comedy character of Blanche (Catherine Maile) – a small part, but she played it for all she was worth, and supported a very elegantly wigged Veronica Yates as Miss Lynch – who managed her rather rowdy school pupils very well, with Paul Rogers playing a very energetic Coach, gearing his team up for a win, Luke Murphy as Vince Fontaine radio presenter extraordinaire, and Justin Doherty again giving us a lovely performance as both Johnny Casino and Teen Angel – two great songs, which he performed with ease and a beautiful tonal quality.

The main characters were supported by a very lively ensemble, and it was here in the ensemble numbers that the choreography came to life, and was performed with energy and enthusiasm.

The finale was again one of Lucy’s renowned megamixes, where everyone got involved in performing snapshots of every number in the show, which left me feeling extremely upbeat and a little worn out!!  But I would have loved to have been up there on the stage with them – it really got the audience going.

So, a good show, with some excellent performances, and it was so pleasing to me, as an avid supporter, and I’m sure to DAOS as a whole, to have full houses for all three performances, and such appreciative audiences – very well done to everyone.

Dunstable Amatuer Operatic Society

GREASE” review date: 4th Oct 2013

Grove Theatre, Dunstable

Director:  Lucy O’Hare MD: Chris Young Choreographer: Ashley Mead


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