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'Grease' musical comes to Phuket

PHUKET: While most of the island’s kids have been out enjoying the sunny weather after school, 50 students at the British International School, Phuket (BISP) have spent weeks rehearsing for their musical production of Grease.

By Claire Connell

Wednesday 19 March 2014, 05:16PM

Grease is the second whole school musical at BISP, following the popular production of The Lion King which ran last year. But for 2014, Head of Arts Neill Thacker is promising something much bigger.

The impressive set not only includes the “Greased Lightning” car – a converted vehicle that was found abandoned in the school grounds – which houses the live band on a platform above it, but all of the costumes have been made-to-measure by wife of BISP staff member Mrs Pian Rodban.

Then there’s the music – the students have had to learn 24 songs, and there’s a parent choir as well. For Mr Thacker, who also doubles as Grease’s producer, director and musical director, it’s a heap of work but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I love it like crazy, it’s the highlight of the year for me. The great thing about this is that we are making it a real audience participation event. People can come dressed in 50s clothing, or your favourite character.”

There will be prizes for the best dressed on the night.

“The music is timeless,” Neill explains.

“With Grease, many of the kids haven’t seen the movie, especially the younger ones.”

Neill says the musical version of Grease is very different to the 1978 hit movie, with not all the songs the same. For example, the famous movie finale, ‘You’re The One That I Want’, is not in the musical version, but has been added into the BISP production.

This is the second whole school musical Neill has put on at BISP. Last year’s Lion King was the first, but he’s also done three primary school productions.

Hannah Willoch, 14, and Carl Ydmark, 16, are “fantastic” in the lead roles of Sandy and Danny, Neill says.

“There’s two sets of Pink Ladies, because they were so strong. I thought it wasn’t fair if one group don’t get in, so there’s two.”

Grease will be Neill’s last production before his family, wife Kirsten and daughters Maddy, 14, and Sammy, 11, who both star in the production, return home to Brisbane in June.

The family have been overseas for nine years living in London, Cairo, and Shanghai before moving to Phuket three years ago.

The final night of Grease, on Wednesday, April 2, will be a “very emotional night”, Neill says, largely because it will be his last musical at the school, but also because of how much time the students and everyone else involved have dedicated to making it a success.

“So much goes into it from so many people. It’s a huge amount of work but they love it.”

Grease will show at BISP on March 31 and April 1 and 2, starting 6pm. Tickets are B300 for adults and B100 for children. Tickets must be pre-purchased from Community Information Support at the primary school foyer at BISP. People are advised to purchase early as last year’s Lion King sold out quickly. Contact cis@bisphuket.ac.th for further details.


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