The capacity audience in the De La Salle Sports Hall had a happy rocking good feel-good night at the De La Salle College Musical Society’s production of Grease. A lively production, that owed more to the 1978 movie than any of the various stage productions, except the Shane Richie one. This society is renowned for nurturing new talent and it was good to see them put their faith in the hands of a young production team. Greg Porter repaid that trust in bucketfuls as Director, as did Musical Director, Richard Coady and the exciting choreography of Deirdre Dempsey was evident in a show that, at times, lacked the big spectacle, had a poor and unimaginative set and put an excuse for a Thunderbird car in a pit where 80 percent of the audience couldn’t see it and enjoy Creased Lightnin”.
But on the credit side there were at least a half dozen fine performances with girls in the ascendent and boys shy of high notes and fancy moves.
The leading pair of Danny Zuko and Sandy Dumbrowski, had a charisma and rapport in a typical boy meets girl during the summer and then end up in the same high school. Danny is the hard touch guy with the Greasers or Burger Boys and Sandy hangs out with the sassy Pink Ladies.
Fergal Kelly was a confident Danny who had the moves and the chutzpah. Sinead Whitty as Sandy sparkled in Hopelessy Devoted, the Sandra Dee reprise and the fine duet with Danny, Summer Nights.
There were some memorable cameo performances from Ellen Howley as Miss Lynch; Shannon Phelan as Cha Cha; Stephanie Flynn as Patty Simcox and a gem of nerdiness from Tadhg Mahon as Eugene. Jean-Patrick Burke was a slick Vince Fontaine, mark Gunning as Johnny Casino for Hand Jive and a cool Ian McCarthy as Teen Angel for a glorious Beauty School Drop Out with Frenchy.
Sorcha Duffy, Rachel Keating, Cliondhina Ryan, Richard Molloy and Gillian Quann, shone in the Ensemble routines. Stephen Heffernan was a fun Roger. Emma Power was a sympthematic Jan and Rachel Somers shone in Freddy My Love. Aidan Morris was a good Doody and I enjoyed his Magic Changes.
Mark O’Keeffe was impressive as the car mad, but caring, Kenickie. Pat O’Connor was equally impressive as the boastful Sonny and his drunk routine was a howl.
But for me, the stars of the show were Lucy Mulvaney as Frenchy. She had such an expressive style whether she was singing, acting or just reacting; and Olivia Cagney as Rizzo. Cagney was the real deal – tough and feisty and a dream in Look At Me I’m Sandra Dee. It was because of performers like Mulvaney and Cagney that I formed the impression that the sum of the parts was greater than the show overall.