GFO’s revival production of Grease begins previews next week at QPAC’s Lyric Theatre and we at AussieTheatre wanted to get to know the cast before the show commences its run!
Today we chat with Chris Durling who will be starring as T-Bird Doody! Durling was most recently seen in the Australian national tour of Jersey Boys.
What do you think it is about Grease that people love so much?
Grease is a story that everyone identifies with. We all went to school and were either cool, a sports jock or a geek. Life seemed so heightened and dramatic at school even though really it was all so simple. I think generally society thinks fondly of this chapter of their lives. Whether that's because they made life-long friends, were king of the school, had their first kiss or simply fell in love for the first time. These memories stay with us and thats why Grease lives on.
Describe your character – Doody
Doody is the little brother of the T-Birds. Apart from Kenickie, he's the same age as the other boys, but he's mentally a little younger. He idolises Danny. He's honest, a mummies boy and has never kissed a girl. Soon 😉
What’s your favourite song in the show?
Grease Lightning. Stephen Mahy smashes the lead vocal and it's a blast having the entire male cast onstage together going hard.
When you were at high school were you cool enough to be a T-Bird
Of course! Ha… But I kind of swung between a few social groups because I was good at sport, sung in the choir and like to chase the girls 😉
What’s the most challenging thing about the show?
I'm sure it will be the consistency. Grease relies on pure energy and is quite physical, so 8/9 shows a week will be a challenge. I peak for the torte.
What’s the best thing about the performing arts community in Australia?
I guess we all have a love/hate relationship with the unpredictability of the industry, but I love that I don't know whats coming just around the corner. I guess I'm one of the lucky ones who have regular work. I spent the last two and a half years on my dream show of Jersey Boys, and now I'm part of this killer cast, with my best mate Sam Ludeman on stage next to me, in my childhood favourite show. Life is good.
If you could give one piece of advice to up and coming performers, what would it be?
Find a couple of mentors in the industry whose opinions you trust, and use them to help shape you, grow and figure out who you are as an artist/product. Work out your weaknesses and work on them, but workout your strengths and use them. Know who you are before you walk into the audition. Know that no one else on the planet is the same as you. You aren't competing with them. Just find the best version of you and share it.
Most embarrassing thing to ever happen to you onstage?
I wore quick release button up pants in High School Musical that I was supposed to tear off in a blackout. It was quite embarrassing when the button popped in the scene before and my pants dropped to my ankles centre stage.
If you weren’t treading the boards in Grease, what would you be doing?
Maybe a professional cyclist or gardener or property mogul.
What are some of your dream roles?
It was a dream come true to play the roles of Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio in Jersey Boys. I grew up on Frankie Valli .
Chris in Miss Saigon would be a dream role. I love performing for my family, so if I could be cast in shows like Saigon or Les Mis, then they would be ecstatic and that makes me happy.
Grease will be playing at the Lyric Theatre, QPAC from 20 August. Visit greaseistheword.com.au for more details!