Grease: The Live Experience – Review
As a seasoned Secret Cinema fan, I thought I knew what to expect when I arrived at the NEC Birmingham for “Grease: The Live Experience”.
But from the moment my friends and I were whisked through the press line and handed cocktails, it was clear this was going to be a night like no other. The anticipation was palpable as we took in the fairground rides, food stalls, and the imposing facade of Rydell High School. It was as if we had stepped right into 1959, and the adventure was just beginning.
Embracing my character, Rusty Dumbrowski, I was ready to dive into the world of “Grease”. The beauty of Secret Cinema is in its immersive quality, the way it invites you to step into the world of the film and become a part of the narrative.
It wasn’t long before we spotted three familiar faces in iconic pink jackets: Rizzo, Marty, and Jan. Without missing a beat, Rizzo took me and my friends under her wing. She was the queen of the Pink Ladies, and she was about to give us a tour of the “real Rydell”. From the auto shop to the gym, we were privy to all the insider spots, even getting a wave from Kenickie as we passed by.
The immersive experience continued as we found ourselves in the midst of the iconic “Summer Nights” scene. Singing along with the boys on the bleachers, I felt like I was living the movie. The energy was infectious, and it was a highlight of the night.
But the fun didn’t stop there. Rizzo, or Riz as I was calling her by then, led us to the gym where a live band was playing, and KZTV cameras were set up. The atmosphere was electric, the music infectious, and I found myself tapping my feet to the rhythm. I looked at Rizzo, who was swaying to the music, and had a fun idea…
Now, there’s a golden rule at Secret Cinema: you do not touch the actors unless invited to or given permission. It’s a rule that ensures everyone has a great time and respects each other’s space. So, with that in mind, I extended a hand towards Rizzo and asked, “Would you like to dance?” To my delight, she said yes!
The next few minutes were a blur of laughter and movement. I was spinning Rizzo around the dance floor, the music and the cheers from the crowd providing the perfect soundtrack to our dance. It was a moment of pure joy, a testament to the interactive nature of the Secret Cinema experience.
But the night was far from over. After our dance, Rizzo whisked us off to a couple more fun scenes – I don’t want to give it all away – before we all came back to the gym for the famous dance competition. The energy in the room was electric as the dancers took to the floor, their movements perfectly synchronised to the music. It was a sight to behold, a perfect re-enactment of one of the film’s most iconic scenes.
After the dance competition, while everyone else continued dancing, I took a moment to grab a drink from one of the many bars. The selection was impressive, and I found myself sipping on a cocktail named after one of the movie’s iconic songs. When I returned, it was time for the finale song, and we all linked arms and sang “We’ll Always Be Together”, a joyful end to an unforgettable evening.
And just when it seemed like the fun was over, we settled down to watch the movie. As the most iconic scenes played out on screen, the actors simultaneously performed them on stage, creating a truly immersive cinematic experience. It was like watching the movie come to life right before my eyes, a testament to the talent and dedication of the cast and crew.
The entire night was magical, a joyride of nostalgia and fun that left me grinning from ear to ear. The cast was phenomenal, the production was top-notch, and the immersive experience was like nothing else. I can’t wait to go back to Rydell before the run finishes on August 13th.
Looking back on the night, I’m struck by the attention to detail that went into creating this immersive experience. From the meticulously designed sets to the perfectly choreographed dance numbers, every aspect of the production was designed to transport us into the world of “Grease”. It was a night of pure escapism, a chance to step back in time and live out a slice of 1950s Americana.
But more than that, it was a celebration of the enduring appeal of “Grease”. The movie has touched the hearts of millions over the years, and last night, I got to be a part of that legacy. I got to sing along to the iconic songs, dance with the characters I’ve loved since childhood, and experience the magic of Rydell High firsthand.
By the way, if you’re not as ready to throw yourself in as I am, that’s fine. You are free to watch and explore and immerse yourself as much or as little as you wish. You will still have a fantastic time. The beauty of Secret Cinema is that it caters to all levels of engagement. Whether you’re a die-hard fan ready to dive headfirst into the experience or a casual viewer looking to dip your toes in, there’s something for everyone.
Secret Cinema’s “Grease: The Live Experience” is a triumph. It’s a love letter to the beloved film, a nostalgic journey back to the 50s, and an innovative theatrical experience that breaks down the fourth wall and invites the audience to play along. Whether you’re a die-hard “Grease” fan or just looking for a unique night out, this is an event not to be missed. It’s more than just cinema; it’s a memory in the making.
Grease: The Live Experience is open until 13th August only, for the last few remaining tickets visit www.secretcinema.com
Words by Nick Barr