With three shows to go before Grease closes at the Forge Theatre next Sunday, the team at Bairnsdale Production Line Theatre Company are preparing for a rush on the ticket box as audiences sweep up the remaining seats.
The show has endured a bumpy run, thanks to the lingering Covid virus, with a week’s performances cancelled, an extra week added to the season, and a critical cast member taken ill and replaced last weekend. Despite all this, the show has been warmly received by audiences, with many people literally dancing in the aisles – or hand-jiving in their seats – at every performance.
“We knew we were onto a winner with Grease from the start, way back in 2021 when we decided to take it on”, said Production Line President Rick Edney. “It’s a show that can’t miss with audiences and performers alike, with a great rock ‘n’ roll song-list, a huge dollop of nostalgia for mums, dads, grandmas and grandpas, and a storyline set in the 1950s that’s still relevant in 2022.”
The teen-focused musical has been a huge boost for not only the company’s immediate fortunes, but also for the future of the company and local theatre generally, as it has brought a new generation of performers into the field.
“This is what I live for”, said Grease director David Cubley. “For many of the young people coming into this show, the experience has been, without exaggeration, life-changing. These are people who, even if they don’t aspire to careers in the business, will most likely stay involved in community theatre for the rest of their lives. And it all started here.”
With its blend of newcomers and old hands, Grease has certainly raised the bar for East Gippsland community theatre, and augurs well for the company’s future productions.
“As soon as the Grease season ends on Sunday, we’ll be preparing our October season”, said Mr Edney, “which is the classic American comedy-drama, Steel Magnolias. We’ll be advertising shortly for a director and other key team members, and soon afterwards we’ll call auditions for the cast.”
“Then, looking forward to 2023, there will be another great musical in May”, he added. “But that’s being kept under wraps until next week – so watch this space!”
Grease goes into its final weekend this Friday evening, May 27th, with 2 pm matinees on Saturday and Sunday. Bookings are available via the Forge Theatre website.