Grapevine reviewing a movie? Oh how the times are changing. In truth, this is less about the antics of Ms Newton-John and Mr Travolta, and more about the entertainment experience and how the last six months has changed everything we took for granted about having a night out.
The organisers of The Drive-In Experience: Out of Space Events in partnership with Jericho Entertainment and our good friends at Epic Studios are to be lauded for putting on these shows. The format is still experimental but after six months of livestream gigs and bingeing on box sets in front of the telly, the penny dropped. What has been missing is making an effort to go out.
We have been to a few of these drive-in events and have no hesitation in recommending them. They are safe, well organized and great fun. If I’m honest, they are the one thing I hope we keep from this totally forgettable year.
Euston Park on the Suffolk/Norfolk border was the venue for this drive-in experience. We were met by friendly staff at the gate who scanned our ticket’s QR code and recorded our track & trace details. Amid the ample grounds we were guided to our parking space, like a plane taxiing to its stand, by another friendly team member who even checked that we were happy with our slot and that we could see the screen well enough.
The cars were well spaced, and we could sit in front of our vehicles if we wished. On a warm August evening we took out our director’s chairs (hey, it’s a movie!) our drinks and popcorn and relaxed. This really was a chilled experience. But our meager snacks were nothing compared to some who had picnic tables groaning under the weight of salads, pies and fizzy pop.
There was a pre-show warm up with silly but safe party games in front of the screen for those who wanted to take part. The high tech, crystal clear screen was tucked in among the trees just in front of the Church of St Genevieve. Behind us, on the hill, the estate folly looked down amused as the opening bars of “Love is a Many Splendored Thing” rang out across the fields from the excellent sound system.
I first saw Grease when it went on general release in Dublin in 1978. At the time I was dating a young lady from Texas. The music from that movie became a subliminal backdrop to our carefree summer that year.
Oddly enough, I do not believe I’ve seen the movie in full since. And so, I sat back to see this movie as if for the first time. I was tempted to applaud at the end of each number, singing along (badly) to the words I know so well from this cheesy, feel-good, love story. But cheesy love stories are not confined to the silver screen. Remember that young lady from Texas I was dating back in Dublin? She was sitting beside me at Euston Park!
Thursday was the first of four days of Drive-In Experience days at Euston Park. If you have been anxious about going out, nervous of what to expect, then these drive-ins are perfect. You are in total control of your bubble; you can stay in your car with the windows closed and listen to the soundtrack through your car radio if you want.