Grease is the word

Danny Bayne will play 'Danny' and Carina Gillespie, 'Sandy', in Grease at the Alhambra Theatre, Dunfermline in September. Pic by Paul Coltas.
Danny Bayne will play 'Danny' and Carina Gillespie, 'Sandy', in Grease at the Alhambra Theatre, Dunfermline in September. Pic by Paul Coltas.

IT’s one of the nation’s most loved musicals thanks to the success of the 70s film featuring John Travolta and Olivia Newton John, but now the cast of ‘Grease’ are preparing to take to the stage in Dunfermline for the very first time.

The West End touring production is set to role into Fife in less than three weeks time and this week, two of the performers took time out to speak to the Press ahead of the six-day run.

Carina Gillespie, who is currently playing leading lady Sandy, said: “We came to Edinburgh last year, but I don’t think we’ve been up to Scotland this year. “I’m really looking forward to it.

“I’m going to be staying with family friends when I’m there which will be lovely. It’ll be nice to get some home comforts.

“I’ve been playing Sandy for just over a year. I love it - you can’t not enjoy it!

“I think I was like most little girls watching the film from a young age, but I never imagined myself as a Sandy. My mum is Spanish, I have olive skin, brown eyes and dark hair.

“I didn’t think the casting team would see me for that role, but the things they can do wtih make up, wigs and costumes is amazing.

“It’s fantastic to be able to play two different characters in one show. At the beginning there’s sweet Sandy who is so innocent and then there’s vixen Sandy at the end. It’s great!”

Of course, playing the role made famous by Olivia Newton John, means Carina also has the chance to wear that outfit ... you know the one.

“I don’t have time to think about it,” she explains, “there’s a team of about four people standing in the wings waiting for me.

“I finish my song, go off stage and then it’s my Superwoman moment.

“The dress is removed and people help pull me into the costume because it’s so tight.

“I have probably got a minute to be transformed.

“The more you do it the easier it gets, and for me I just stand still and let everyone work together round me.

“If you try toget involved and do things for yourself you mess up the system, so it’s best to let the team do it. It’s like a pit stop in Formula 1!”

On the current tour, Carina stars alongside Danny Bayne - winner of ITV’s ‘Grease Is The Word’, who went on to make his debut as T-Bird Danny Zuko in the West End.

With a hectic schedule that sees the actors travel the length and breadth of the UK, the pair spend a lot of time together.

Carina said: “You go through so much. You live together, work toether, socialise together.

“We’re like a very close knit family. We’re very lucky that we get on really.”

But Danny’s not the only special man featuring in the production.

Blond baritone Rhydian Roberts makes a cameo appearance in the role of Teen Angel - a role which a number of different performers take on depending where in the country the performance is taking place.

Carina adds: “He is fantastic and unbelievable. His voice - I’ve never heard anything like it.

“He’s such a hard worker, he is very consistent and he gives it his all every time. He is a very good friend of mine.

“It’s lovely to have someone on the show you get on so well with.”

And for Rhydian, the chance to play the part which starred Frankie Avalon in the film) is a great opportunity which he loves.

He told the Press: “It’s a great cast and an iconic show with an amazing soundtrack.

“It’s nice to be involved with a West End touring production. I’ve been in it for four years on and off.

“It’s a nice little gig, I get to travel round the whole of the UK, and I don’t think it’s been to Dunfermline before.

“Grease is a show that thrives on a good audience, especially my role. I’m the only character with the freedom to interact with an audience.”

So what is it about playing Teen Angel that Rhydian enjoys?

“First and foremost it’s a great song. It’s a great production - all the girl dancers are dancing around me.

“It’s a feel good performance. It is just the one song, but it’s nice to be part of an iconic show without having the pressure of playing Danny. I don’t have the moves for that.’’

With so many well-known and much loved scenes and songs featuring in the musical, does our leading lady have a favourite moment?

Carina pauses and then decides: “It’s got to be the transformation and the mega mix at the end is really really fun.

“I love the point you can look out in to the audience and see everyone on their feet dancing and clapping.

“You see all generations joining in. It’s fantastic.”

>> ‘Grease’ is at the Alhambra Theatre, Dunfermline from September 17-22.