Presented by Adelaide Festival Centre
Reviewed 14th December 2017
The Christmas season is well and truly upon us and what better way to celebrate than with a trip to the theatre. Due to the continued redevelopment work at the Adelaide Festival Centre, the Christmas Proms have once again landed at Her Majesty’s Theatre.
In Director Nick Begbie’s fresh take on the annual classic, award-winning a cappella group The Idea of North took audiences around the world and, through music, gave them a taste of how other countries and cultures celebrate end of year festivities.
Backed by a large orchestra and a seemingly impressive drummer, the quartet opened the show in America, with a jazzy rendition of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas before travelling straight to England with I Saw Three Ships (Come Sailing In). It was then revealed that the drummer of the orchestra was indeed vocal percussionist Kaichiro Kitamura. Kitamura is an amazing talent who mesmerised the audience as he demonstrated the ways in which he can emulate a drum kit. The Idea of North continued their global extravaganza, singing classic carols in many dialects, including Catalan, Hebrew, Spanish, and even the language of the West African Soussou. They performed to their usual first-class standard.
One of the most touching aspects of this year’s proms was the inclusion of two community choirs: the Tutti Choir, a chorus that is open to disabled and non-disabled singers of any age, gave an inspiring and poignant rendition of Jingle Bells; whilst the On Stage Children’s Choir led the audience with zest in an uplifting arrangement of Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
The let-down of the show, for this reviewer, was the inclusion of a melodramatic, stage-managing Elf. His attempt to produce laughs using cheap, slapstick comedy fell short on the opening of the show. The dialogue, without the advertised guest emcee, also felt a little stilted and unrehearsed. Hopefully this will improve during the short season.
Kathyrn Sproul’s design ensured the stage was decorated in stunning festive fashion, with an abundance of ornate Christmas baubles hanging from the ceiling.
The Christmas Proms, once again, have proved to be a wonderful way to celebrate all that is good in the world and indulge in the Christmas spirit.
Reviewed by Ben Francis
Venue: Her Majesty’s Theatre, Grote Street, Adelaide
Season: 14th-16th December
Duration: 120 minutes (including interval)