Geoff Helisma | It’s a well-known fact that Australia was the country that launched Abba into the stratospheric popularity the Swedish group went on to enjoy around the globe. And Australia’s love affair with the group continues to this day. Inspired by Abba’s songs, Sue Kearney, the writer and director of a show about to play at The Pelican Playhouse in South Grafton, has created Abba-riginal. “The concept is a tribute to Australia through the songs of Abba,” she says. “The script is based around the songs, and the roles are played by people who receive support from Cranes Community Support Programs. “It’s all-ability theatre; able bodied people tell the story in front of curtains and, when the curtains open, Cranes customers [people with disabilities] perform the songs. “Dancing shoes are mandatory for the audience – there’ll be a dance-off after the show – who are encouraged to interact with the show’s theme: it’s a tribute to Australia aimed at uniting all Australians.” Sue says the performers from Cranes are known as BRATS, that is Big River Amateur Theatre Sensations. “I love theatre and I love providing the opportunity for people with a disability to participate; it’s an absolute blessing and everyone has a lot of fun doing it, we love sharing the experience.” Sue told a story about an accident she once had that proved to be a bit ironic, when she staged Slightly Greasy, a tribute to Grease. “The show was on for the Jacaranda Festival three years ago,” she says, “and I was the commentator. “I was running through my back garden and fell, so I couldn’t dance. It helped me understand that we all have varying disabilities and abilities.” Slightly Greasy played a run of sold out full houses; Sue is looking forward to the same reception for Abba-riginal. Show dates: Friday November 30, Saturday December 1, and Friday and Saturday December 7 and 8. Tickets are $15 and are on sale at Cranes reception, 11 Kemp Street, Grafton; phone 6642 7257.