Grease is the word for dance-along fun at the Everyman

The show at the Everyman has classic songs from a number of musical films, writes Colette Sheridan

THE Grease and Dirty Dancing Show is at the Everyman in Cork tonight. This West End Productions’ show has been on the road for nearly 30 years, touring the UK and Ireland, says promoter, Danny McGuigan.

As well as songs from the two hit films, the show also includes song and dance routines from other musical films such as Flash Dance, Fame and Footloose.

Four West End performers, backed by musicians, sing live and dance, making numerous costume changes to give their stage show an authentic nostalgic feel. The two women performers get to wear Pink Ladies outfits while the men strut their stuff in T-Bird leather jackets among other regalia.

“The performers are brilliant vocalists,” says McGuigan. “They have to be as they’re dancing at the same time as they’re singing. This is not an easy task but they carry it off with aplomb. They’re very exacting.”

While there’s a cheesiness inherent in Grease and Dirty Dancing with their predictable romantic tales, they have broad appeal, making them show business success stories that appeal to all the family. There’s a certain innocence about them, says McGuigan.

When Grease was released in 1978 starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, its soundtrack album was the second-best selling album of the year in the US, behind the soundtrack of Saturday Night Fever which also starred Travolta.

Dirty Dancing, released in 1987, starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, was the first film to sell more than a million copies on home video and the soundtrack generated two multi-platinum albums and multiple singles including ‘(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.’

The enduring appeal of The Grease and Dirty Dancing Show lies in the fact that the songs have survived to the present day. As McGuigan says, most performance schools for youngsters use hits such as ‘Greased Lightning’ and ‘Summer Nights’ as part of their staple of catchy easy-to-mimic songs.

“That means a show like this has appeal right across the spectrum. It attracts children as well as adults in their sixties. It’s entertaining music to dance along to. There’s a lot of audience participation. This includes the performers instructing the audience how to hand jive which involves arm movements.

“It’s always quite funny because the audience makes mistakes and laugh at themselves. Then there’s the ‘big lift’ which involves a girl coming from the side of the stage at a running pace. She’s lifted skyward by one of the guys which is no mean feat. There’s also plenty of dancing in the aisles. Audiences go home feeling very invigorated.”

Audiences also have a fun night out, during the week. McGuigan says it’s hard to get theatre audiences at the weekend. He is also promoting The Bee Gees Story which follows The Grease and Dirty Dancing Show for one night (November 19) at the Everyman.

The Bee Gees tribute act performs classics such as ‘How Deep is Your Love’, ‘Tragedy’ and ‘Gotta Get a Message to You.’ They look a bit like the Brothers Gibb and are all part of the nostalgia industry.

“You get young people who are just as much into nostalgia as older people, particularly when a nostalgia type show has a good track record. The Grease and Dirty Dancing Show covers everything from rock’n’roll to motown.”

It’s a guaranteed good night out, says McGuigan.

The Grease and Dirty Dancing Show is at Everyman Cork tonight


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