Swan's youth project will perform Grease this weekend

Swan's youth project will perform Grease this weekend

Wycombe Swan Summer Youth Project members

The principal cast

First published in News Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

GREASE is the word for this summer's Wycombe Swan Youth Project. The popular musical will see youngsters shimmying their way across the stage singing the well known classics such as Summer Nights and Greased Lightning.

The Wycombe Swan Summer Youth Project is a highlight of the theatre's summer season as it involves up to 200 local young people coming together to work with a professional creative team at the Wycombe Swan to create Grease.

Over a two week rehearsal period the show comes together ready for opening night on August 8.

The musical of Grease was made into a eternally popular film in 1978 with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.

It is the summer of 1958 and local boy Danny Zuko and vacationing Sandy Olsson meet at the beach and fall in love. When the summer comes to an end, Sandy-who is going back to Australia-frets that they may never meet again, but Danny tells her that their love is "only the beginning". The film moves to the start of the seniors' term at Rydell High School and Sandy starts at the same school as Danny.

Bethany Perry from Ickenham is playing Sandy while Lewis Cochrane from Beaconsfield is playing Danny.

Bethany, aged 18, has just finished school and will start studying Musical Theatre at Performance Preparation Academy in Guildford.

She said: "Ever since I started doing shows I wanted to do musical theatre.

"I did pantos when I was quite little and my first proper part was as Alice in Alice and Wonderland for Richings Players in Iver when I was about 11/12.

"From that point I realised this was what I wanted to do."

It is her first project with the Swan, as she previously did the project at the Beck Theatre in Hayes.

But after working with Renegade Youth Theatre earlier this year performing in Zombie Prom, she wanted to work with the production team again, who are behind the scenes at the Swan's youth project.

She is however, still taking part in the Beck Theatre project which starts straight afterwards and is also Grease, but in that one she is playing Frenchy.

Bethany said: "I think it is hard to break away from the film.

"The musical and the film are very different. The book is different.

"A lot of people expect a certain thing from Sandy, but the character in the book is different.

"She is more feisty in the musical. In a scene at the end of act one she attacks Rizzo and full on jumps on her.

"I read the book and thought, I can't remember that being in the film!"

And Bethany loves taking part in a project like this, as she gets to meet so many new friends.

She said: "I know every single project I have ever done, I have made new friends on it.

"I love how everyone pulls together, like a massive family, to produce a show in two weeks.

"I know Wycombe Swan has a very high standard, I am told, and it is a bit scary trying to live up to that.

"But everyone tries to help each other out."

Her dream role would be as The Little Mermaid in the musical with the same name. But for now, she is relishing the role of Sandy.

She said: "It is such a feel good show.

"It is a good family show. People leave with a smile on their face and it is the typical boy meets girl romance, which people can't get enough of."

Charlie Young from Princes Risborough is playing Frenchy, Tom Noyes from High Wycombe is playing Kenickie, Olivia Kinghorn from Iver is Rizzo, Ben Cisneros is playing Roger, while Freddie Redman from Downley is playing Teen Angel. But of course, there is a larger cast with many talented youngsters to boot.

And finally, what does Bethany think of the music?

"I have been singing through them and I remember being at school discos, where Summer Nights would always be played at the end of the night for the little couples dance.

"It is odd to look back on now. I have very cringey memories! But the songs are great fun."

Grease is on at the Wycombe Swan on August 8 at 7pm, August 9 at 2.30 and 7pm and August 10 at 5.30pm. Tickets are £13 to £16.50 with a £1.50 booking fee. Call 01494 512000 or go to www.wycombeswan.co.uk.

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