Grease - A high school musical
Tuesday night had been set aside in the diary for a few weeks now. The school that my eldest three attend was putting on a production of Grease.
Aaliyah, my 13-year-old, was part of the chorus and had asked if I’d wanted to go along and watch. I think it may have been rhetorical.
My 11-year-old, Brooke, asked to tag along too but before I’d had a chance to buy a children’s rate ticket, she got herself a job as some kind of stagehand instead, saving me a fiver.
After queuing for ten minutes or so in the cold, the doors to the hall were opened and everyone filed in. I ignored the initial scramble for the front couple of rows, instead finding an aisle seat about four or five rows from the front.
History has told me that aisle seats are always best. Whether it’s on planes, trains or plain old school halls, it’s ideal for a 6′ 2″ frame to stretch out a little.
No sooner had the hall pretty much filled up then a mum and her young son decided that the two seats next to me were the ideal space for them both.
I scooted to one side and let them get by, but within seconds the son was complaining that he wasn’t able to see anything. Part of me wanted to say that they should have got there earlier but instead, I offered to switch seats.
Well, I say I offered. What in fact happened was the words “would you like to…” left my lips only for a very excited kid next to me to leap up and say “yes!” while his mum made the very British display of part-apologising, part-thanking and part-“are-you-sure”ing.
We swapped seats and I was now in the middle of the six seats in the row. The seats were narrow and the next hour was spent doing my best not to fidget despite the onset of horrendous cramp whilst equally worrying that the hurried swapping of seats had somehow caused my jeans to ride down this exposing my hairy bum crack to the gang of delinquents in the row behind.
The same gang of delinquents who, no sooner had I sat down, had one if their contingent loudly exclaim:
“Oh great! This is where midgets get abused!”
I shrank into my seat as best as a tall, fat bloke could as the first half started.
Maybe the cramp dictated my mood, but the performance was typically High School. A couple of superb singers, just as many actors looking like they’d never seen the script, much less committed sections of it to memory and a female Danny Zucko.
The good bits were excellent and a credit to everyone involved. The bad bits were so terrible that it made me laugh. On more than one occasion it seemed as though everyone easy waiting for everyone else to start singing before they’d commit to the song themselves.
At half time I grabbed a cup of tea and changed seats, choosing the back row which was completely free.
I stretched out and the musical carried on as before, with sections of it looking polished and professional and other parts feeling like they needed more work.
Laughs were had throughout, both when intended and also during unexpected events such as the revelation of the souped-up car which was not so much Greased Lightening as a mildly warm weekend rain shower.
When all was finished, the cast got a round of applause and deservedly so. A lack of conviction had been shown by some, but everyone got through despite their nerves and hopefully the remaining performances will fare better than this opening show.
Of course it goes without saying that Aaliyah was brilliant as part of the chorus and Brooke excelled at whatever it was that she was doing backstage as well as pre-show when she was telling people how to get to the hall. (You didn’t expect me to say anything bad or sarcastic about my own kids, surely?)
Aaliyah summed it up on the way home, though, when she referred back to last year’s performance of We Will Rock You.
“At least they didn’t miss out two main scenes by mistake this year, dad!”
The cynic in me suspects that - chosen correctly - this could have improved the performance if they had. That said, there wasn’t a single kid on the stage that didn’t have vastly more singing and acting ability than me, and there is no way inHell I could do what their teacher did in terms of bringing this production together.
It’s safe to say that I don’t miss school.