Future Cinema presents Grease
I know what you’re thinking. Grease is for girls and middle-aged women who usually spend their evenings with a bed full of teddy bears and a box of wine. Grease is to women what Star Wars and Die Hard is to red-blooded men. It’s all tap-dancing and jazz hands and girly kissing where people sing about their feelings and besides, where are the guns and aliens and stuff, right? Well, it turns out you’re wrong. And also kind of sexist.
The thing is, having been a champion of Future Cinema for years, I know that it doesn’t really matter what film they’re screening. When they put on a spectacular array of themed entertainment, supposed props and ACTORS PRETENDING TO BE CHARACTERS ACTING OUT SCENES FROM THE FILM, you’re always in for a brilliant time regardless of what movie it’s all for. Um... except maybe The Human Centipede. That would be a bad choice.
But, luckily, this time round Future Cinema and affiliate company Secret Cinema opted for Grease. Yes, I may have gone solely as a treat for my Pink Lady-obsessed missus, but I knew that it would be lots of fun and I wasn’t let down. Even if it meant dressing up as a fifties-styled high school geek.
From the Rydell High sports field that greeted everyone upon arrival, to the autoshop area with classic cars, to the huge ferris wheel twirling at the back of the grounds, everywhere you looked, there was a scene from Grease mirrored somewhere and in some form. The message was clear: Grease is the word and it’s fucking everywhere. You could pose with extras acting as Rydell students, you could ride on a number of fairground attractions, get served by rollerskating waitresses at the diner or drink and dance in the huge school gym, complete with rockabilly band playing the hits all night long. And yes, the fruit punch was spiked with a LOT of rum.
You could even enjoy a photo opp at a faux sleepover at Frenchy’s house. This is no doubt the point where the majority of guys roll their eyes, while Zuko groupies squeal in delight, but it’s hard not to enjoy the sheer audacity of a giant fancy dress party where everyone involved pretends to actually be IN the movie.
And with official T-Bird and Pink Lady actors wandering the field, it’s a testament to the thousands of dressed-up attendees that have enrolled at Rydell High for just one day that you can’t tell who’s a paid extra and who’s playing make-believe for the sheer hell of it.
By the time the sun starts to set, the official Danny and Sandy have acted out the majority of their more famous scenes as if it were all really happening and Principal McGee has conducted a roll-call of those present, the film finally begins to play on a 40ft inflatable screen.
And I realise I’ve never actually seen it before.
Not properly anyway. Obviously, all the songs are familiar and the most memorable scenes are ingrained in everyone’s consciousness - willingly or not – but what struck me most about this first viewing of Grease is how self-aware it really is. Sure, it has a reputation for being cheesy fun for girly girls wanting to live vicariously through fantasy romances, but it is exactly that: cheesy fun. And it knows it. Every dance-step, hand-jive and swagger is imbued with comic flourishes and a daft sensibility.
But then there’s no need to convince anyone to watch Grease – you either have or haven’t; you either will or won’t. I do however highly recommend any events from Future Cinema. It’s bad form for a film site, I know, but sod it: go to these things anyway, even if you won’t see the film. There’ll always be something else to do while it’s on. And this was for Grease. Imagine what they’d do for something like Star Wars or Die hard...