Grease is the word

Every year, Bryan Flynn puts on a production at Cork Opera House that’s guaranteed to have the crowds bopping in their seats and singing along, and this year is no exception. Flynn has yet again excelled himself with the summer musical, and the choice of classic favourite Grease has been an inspired one.
The Sunday evening showing was, surprisingly, not full, but the excitement of couples, groups of women of all ages, teenagers and family groups was palpable.
It was also audible, with plenty of unsolicited backing vocals from the audience to some of the show’s best-known hits, and a closing medley that brought audience members to their feet.
The set design and direction of this production is fantastic. There’s a real ‘big show’ feel to this that must be difficult to pull off under budgetary constraints, and the team at the Opera House has done it with aplomb, with an opener of DJ Vince Fontaine (‘The main brain’) speaking directly to the audience and playing requests for them. His narration is woven through the story and his presence brings a wonderful feeling of audience participation, while the presence of the musicians just within sight behind the
Dance numbers are well choreographed by David O’Connell and well executed – the show we attended was the second that day, but you’d never have known it from the energy levels of an excellent cast.
Although well-known face Leanne Moore stars as Sandy, while Danny is played by Carl Stallwood, who has extensive West End experience, the real stars of the show for me were Corkonian Karen Tynan as Rizzo and George McMahon (formerly of Fair City fame) as Roger, or ‘Rump’. Perhaps it’s more to do with the general flatness of Sandy and Danny as characters and the more boisterous personalities of Rizzo and Rump but there is certainly as much fun to be had from the supporting characters in Grease as from the leads. Yvonne Cronin as Patti Simcox and Stephen C O’Regan as Eugene also deserve mention for outstandingly energetic and physical performances.


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