The cast of Grease 2024 UK & Ireland tour - Photo: Marc Brenner

Break out the hair cream and the pink jackets – Grease is in town.

The 1950s-themed musical has been going for more than half a century, and made stars of John Travolta and Olivia Newton John when it transferred to film.

The current production, touring nationally and stopping off at Norwich Theatre Royal, mixes material from the musical with songs added for the film, and with an enhanced role for DJ Vince Fontaine (played by Joe Gash) as the show’s groovy narrator.

Lewis Day, Kieran Lynch, Sario Solomon & George Michaelides in Grease - Photo: Marc Brenner
Lewis Day, Kieran Lynch, Sario Solomon & George Michaelides in Grease – Photo: Marc Brenner

The central duo of Danny and Sandy are played by Marley Fenton and Hope Dawe; the two individually give good performances – and although their vocals get a little lost in the melee at times, both hit the big notes when needed.

Gash as Fontaine is clearly enjoying himself, but is also a little variable in his delivery.

Much more consistent are Rebecca Stenhouse as bad girl Rizzo, who bursts with character and owns her scenes, and Alicia Belgarde as wannabe beautician Frenchy. Deena Kapadia’s cameo as Cha Cha also stands out.

The show boasts choreography by Arlene Philips and there are some great set pieces – the high school dance is a dazzling splash of colour and movement (souped up by Colin Richmond’s fab costumes), and We Go Together is great fun.

The staging of Summer Nights is desperate to make use of the high school bleacher steps that swing round the stage in various guises during the show and ends up a little cumbersome as a result – the version in the closing ‘megamix’ complete with audience ‘uhhh’ is much more satisfying.

There’s a lot to enjoy here, not least some cracking songs that have stood the test of time – with so many musicals being churned out at the moment, it really makes a difference when the songs shine.

The story has fared less well – the Burger Palace Boys could do with less Coke, more woke – but switch off from that and this is a fun nostalgic night of big tunes and big dance.