A question that has plagued the hearts of humanity for centuries is answered in this camp and comical musical: just how do you get the girl? The answer? Leather. It’s always leather.
A staging of the love-it-or-hate-it film Grease 2 that achieved its Marmite status in 1982, Cool Rider has accumulated a roaring cult following despite its rocky beginnings. Following a new set of T-Birds and Pink Ladies, leather clad love is in the air when a geeky British exchange student hits the schoolyard. The year at Rydell High is set to run its course as usual with sex, attitude, and scoring second base.
Stuffed with dodgy innuendo that even the actors couldn’t help but laugh at, the show’s weak storyline does let it down significantly. However, its flaws became part of its charm. With a cast having an infectious amount of fun on stage it was near impossible not to enjoy it, as long as you leave your hopes of a life-affirming drama at the door. The show’s popularity with its opening night audience couldn’t be questioned: the entire theatre knew the show word for word, even shouting out the lines before the actors could pop their collars and say them themselves. For a seasoned fan of Cool Rider, it would be everything you’d want, but for new arrivals the show’s self-awareness could leave you a few beats behind.
In terms of the music, the on-stage band couldn’t be faulted in its delivery of the extremely catchy soundtrack and the choreography was much the same, even featuring some unexpected pointe work, and some of the costumes were hilariously creative. It did seem a little torn between being a musical and a musical concert, with some scenes hindered by being stuck to a microphone at the front of the stage. However, as a show that rides on the music more than anything else, pin sharp stage direction wasn’t a priority.
With brilliant singing talent from the entire cast, Cool Rider was, overall, a hot pink and black riot. But with only a weeklong run at the Duchess Theatre, there isn’t long to rat your hair, don the shades and catch it while you can.
Originally posted on Everything Theatre.
Image: Pamela Raith.