The 1982 cult classic film Grease 2 starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Max Caulfield never quite lived up to the expectations set by the 1978 blockbuster hit Grease starring Olivia Newton John and John Travolta. It did however earn itself a following which is evident in this new concert versions of the show, Cool Rider at the Duchess Theatre.
Having never seen Grease 2, I had no idea what to expect but luckily the two very excitable girls sat next to me, filled me in before it started. They told me they knew every word but they would not be singing along as it would be embarrassing. From the moment the lights in the theatre went down, I could have easily been at a rock and roll concert. Excited screams and cheers and a huge echo of audience members singing along to every song (even the girls next to me who seemed to have had a change of heart). The only other time I have experienced a feeling like that in the theatre is with the other cult classic Rocky Horror Show which seems to have a similar following,
I’m still not convinced I really know what the story of Cool a Rider is but as the show is a concert version that is to be expected. Michael (Aaron Sidwell) is the new British kid at school who falls for Stephanie (Asheligh Gray) and sets out to become one of the T-birds in order to win her affection.
The songs were incredibly catchy. From the bowling ally scene ‘Score Tonight’ to the biology lesson ‘Reproduction’ and of course the shows title song ‘Cool Rider’ which got the audience very excited when Stephanie climbed over a step ladder!
Cool Rider has some brilliant performances but the two stand out performers were the belt-tastic Hannah Levane (as Paulette) and Harry Francis as cheeky little T-bird Davey. Aaron Sidwell was perfectly cast in the role of Michael and Ashleigh Gray could sing the phone book and make it sound amazing.
If you love Grease 2 then there is no question you will squeal with delight at Cool Rider and whilst I didn’t really understand a lot of the jokes, it is obvious that this cult classic film has been brought to life on stage at the perfect time.
Reviewed by West End Wilma
Cool Rider is playing at the Duchess Theatre until 19 April 2014. Click here for tickets