Grease, The Musical, Leeds Grand Theatre, until July 20. Box office: 0844 848 2700 or at

NIKOLAI Foster returns to his Yorkshire roots with his new Leicester Curve production of Grease.

The Skipton-raised artistic director of the Midlands theatre made his name with his shows for the West Yorkshire Playhouse, such as Bollywood Jane, A Christmas Carol, Animal Farm and Annie.

Foster’s typically dynamic show weaves together Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey’s original 1970 script in Chicago with the Broadway version, and likewise combines songs from the original score with the oh-so-familiar hits from the 1978 John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John film in this first new re-telling of Grease in 25 years.

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“The characters in Grease are the kids Jim grew up with; strong women, police harassment and teenagers raging against the system were all part of the Chicago script,” says Foster,who favours a noticeably younger cast than Randal Kleiser picked for the movie.

That decision makes sense for what is more of an ensemble piece, set in the late-1950s at Rydell High School, where greaser Danny (Dan Partridge)and girl-next-door Sandy (Martha Kirby) face the trials, tribulations, lies and truths of teenage life. Louis Gaunt’s Kenickie and Rhianne-Louise McCaulsky’s Betty Rizzo outperform them; Darren Bennett’s old hand Vince Fontaine steals scenes; Strictly’s Ore Oduba has his moment as a twinkling Teen Angel before Peter Andre resumes from July 17.

The songs shine brightest of all; Colin Richmond’s designs, Douglas O’Donnell’s projections and especially Arlene Phillips’s choreography are all upgrades on past shows, and Greased Lightning’s car ride takes Grease to new heights.