Belle's Domain

Greaseball the Diesel

Greaseball's the Reigning Champion, the king of the toy set, Control's favourite engine. He's big, fast, good looking, ruthless. He's also a bully, abusive to Dinah, unfaithful, a cheat and a coward, but he's the leader of his own gang!
He opens the show with "Rolling Stock", boasting of how he's unbeatable, he's the best. While he has no fear of Rusty beating him in the races, he won't take the disrespect from the little Steamer, and sets his gang on him to... explain matters. When he sees Electra getting the attention he rightfully deserves as the champion, he pulls out all the stops to impress in "Pumping Iron", even snatching Electra's girls, to his disgust! In the original production, Greaseball and Dinah won heat 1, with no complications. In Bochum, Greaseball and Electra tie in a dead heat, fuelling the tension for the Final. However in the later london production, Greaseball won the heat, with Electra in 2nd place. Somehow, with all the rivalry between them, Electra's ego was never dented by the fact Greaseball had already beaten him... After the first heat, Dinah starts complaining about Greaseball's cheating, so he unceremoniously dumps her. He can have any coach he wants, so he doesn't need to put up with her whinging, even when she begs him to take her back. After the last heat, Greaseball comes across Poppa trying to persuade Rusty to race, He's amused by the audacity of the steamers to even attempt to race against him!

For the final, Greaseball takes Pearl, breaking Dinah's heart, but he doesn't stop and notice. In the uphill final he and Caboose wreck Rusty's chances, causing the race to be postponed. Pearl doesn't like the way Greaseball plays, but he gives her no option about following him. In the downhill Final, Greaseball and Electra are fighting it out while racing, and Electra misses GB and hits Pearl instead. As she is limping, injured, Greaseball uncouples her at full speed to continue the race, leaving her careering to the edge... But he is so involved in fighting Electra he can't avoid a horrible crash, and Rusty takes his title as champion. In "One Rock'n'Roll Too Many" Greaseball, wrecked, realises he's not invincible, and he's screwed up pretty bad. When sweet and ever-forgiving Dinah approaches him, he apologises and she believes he's a changed Engine.
Greaseball is the classic abusive partner, in the original production the sleepers try to dissuade Dinah from staying with him - "But he beats you all the time, he gives you hell, he two-times you and he likes to kiss and tell" But she is so dependant on him that she always goes back to him. Greaseball is full of machismo, in both positive and negative aspects of the alpha male. He's big, strong, good-looking, confident, attractive. Yet he's also aggressive, careless, abusive, mean, compassionless and violent.
Greaseball's costume is influenced by the Greaser, unsurprisingly, the 50s biker leathers, the Elvis-style quiff. The patterns on his jacket emphasise his muscled frame, some productions even pad his top to increase his bulk. In non-London productions he also wears a race-pack for the races, drastically increasing the bulk of his costume. However this can backfire as the costume becomes so enormous that even the most impressively built actor within gets swamped and appears smaller.
Throughout the different productions of Starlight Express Greaseball remains a most destinctive character, having had minimal design changes across the years.
Bochum, 1994


PROMOTIONAL Greaseball

Early London Early London Early London
Andrew Lloyd Webber : Anthology music book.  Previews photo, racing with CB, wearing temporary helmet! Jeff Shankley and Stephanie Lawrence, preview costumes, photoshoot press coverage of London production closing.  Photo from 1997 cast promo video, shot from Megamix.
Nigel Casey, Bochum Nigel Casey, Bochum Nigel Casey, Bochum

Troy A. Burgess, Japan/Australia tour 1987 Danny Metcalfe, Japan tour 1990

Las Vegas, 1993 Rod Weber, Las Vegas 1993 UK tour, 2004 Matthew Cutts, New Zealand Tour, 2009

Paul Kribbe, Bochum 1988 Nigel Casey, Bochum

Bochum, 1990

Bochum, 1993

costume design wig and makeup design Mural in foyer of theatre, Bochum


BACKSTAGE Greaseball

Jeff Shankley Jeff Shankley Jeff Shankley
Drue Williams Drue Williams Drue Williams
Drue Williams Paul Reeves Drue Williams
Mark Davis Mark Davis Mark Davis
Drue Williams Nigel Casey Tony Rouse
Tony Rouse Tony Rouse Nigel Casey
Lez Dwight Lez Dwight Lez Dwight
Lez Dwight Dustin Dubreuil Jason Capewell
Nigel Casey Freddy Moretine costume, Open Day 2003


ONSTAGE Greaseball

London
Jeff Shankley, London 1984 Jeff Shankley, London 1984 Jeff Shankley, London 1984
Jeff Shankley, wearing racing costume, London 1984 Jeff Shankley, wearing different racing costume, London 1984 Jeff Shankley, One Rock'n'Roll Too Many, London 1984
Drue Williams, early London Flying Greaseball!, early London early London
Drue Williams Drue Williams Drue Williams
London 1992 London 1992 dying to be in a caption competition... London 1992
London 1992 London 1992 London 1992
London 1992 London 1992 London 1992
London 1993 London 1994 London 1994
London 1995 London 1996 London 1997
London 1998 London 1998 London 1998
London 1999 London 2001

Japan/Australia Tours
Japan/Australia tour 1987 Japan/Australia tour 1987 Race photoshoot, Japan/Australia tour 1987
Japan/Australia tour 1987 Japan/Australia tour 1987 Japan tour 1990
Japan tour 1990 Japan tour 1990 Japan tour 1990
Japan tour 1990

US Productions
Broadway, 1987 Broadway, 1987 Broadway, 1987
Broadway, 1987 Broadway, 1987 Broadway, 1987
Broadway, 1987 Broadway, 1987
US tour, 1989 US tour, 1989 US tour, 1989
US tour, 1989 US tour, 1989
Las Vegas, 1993 Las Vegas, 1993 Las Vegas, 1993
Las Vegas, 1993
US tour, 2003 US tour, 2003 US tour, 2003
US tour, 2003 US tour, 2003 US tour, 2003
US tour, 2003
UK Tour
UK tour, 2004 UK tour, 2004 UK tour, 2004
UK tour, 2004 UK tour, 2004 UK tour, 2004
UK tour, 2004 UK tour, 2004 UK tour, 2006
UK tour, 2006 UK tour, 2007 UK tour, 2007
UK tour, 2007
NZ Tour
Photoshop? what photoshop??  Matthew Cutts, New Zealand Tour, 2009 Matthew Cutts, New Zealand Tour, 2009 Matthew Cutts, New Zealand Tour, 2009

Bochum, Germany
Bochum, 1988 Bochum, 1988 Bochum, 1988
Bochum, 1988 Bochum, 1989 Bochum, 1992
Bochum, 1992 Bochum, 1994 Bochum, 1994
Bochum, 1994 Bochum, 1994 Bochum, 1994
Bochum, 1997 Bochum, 1997 Bochum, 1997
Bochum, 1997 Bochum, 1998 Bochum, 1998
Bochum, 1998 Bochum, 1998 Bochum, 1998
Bochum, 1998 Bochum, 1998 Bochum, 2000
Bochum, 2000 Bochum, 2000 Bochum, 2000
Bochum, 2000 Bochum, 2001 Bochum, 2001
Bochum, 2002 Bochum, 2002 Bochum, 2002
Bochum, 2002 Bochum, 2002 Bochum, 2004
Bochum, 2004 Bochum, 2004 Bochum, 2004
Bochum, 2004 Bochum, 2004 Bochum, 2004
Bochum, 2005 Bochum, 2005 Bochum, 2005
Bochum, 2005 Bochum, 2005 Bochum, 2005
Ernest Marchain, Bochum 2007
Ernest Marchain, Bochum 2007 Ernest Marchain, Bochum 2007 Ernest Marchain, Bochum 2007
Ernest Marchain, Bochum 2008 Ernest Marchain, Bochum 2008


FANS of Greaseball

Greaseball fan, Open Day 2001 Greaseball fan, Open Day 2001 Greaseball fan, Open Day 2001
Kerosene, female version of Greaseball, Heather, Open Day 2002 Greaseball fan, Open Day 2002 Tom Cox, london 2001
Anna Cox, london 2001