Tuesday, 21 November 2017

A Very Kransky Christma, Nov 20, 2017 ****


A Very Kransky Christmas by The Kransky Sisters 
At The Alex Theatre, until Nov 26, 2017 
Reviewer: Kate Herbert  on Mon Nov 20, 2017
 Review also published in Herald Sun online on Tues Nov 21, 2017, and later in print. KH
Kranskys L-R: Dawn  (Carolyn Johns), Mourne (Annie Lee), Eve (Christine Johnston
 A Very Kransky Christmas is an achingly funny and eccentric comedy-cabaret performed by the three peculiar and socially awkward siblings known as The Kransky Sisters.

They perform Christmas themed tunes on unconventional instruments – the saw, tuba and a 1960s keyboard – and their oddball musical arrangements transform Chrissie carols into oompah-oompah tunes or a horror movie soundtrack.

Mourne (Annie Lee), Eve (Christine Johnston) and Dawn Kransky (Carolyn Johns) are old-fashioned, repressed, weird spinsters of a type only seen in 1940s CWA cookbooks or in gothic horror movies.

While Mourne appears to be a barely controlled lunatic, Eve is her naive follower, and poor, bullied Dawn looks like a frightened hamster.

Mourne drives the show with her dry, gloomy but witty patter as she and Eve tell awful tales of their isolated and deprived childhood in a caravan in the tiny, Queensland town of Esk, while their ostracised half-sister, Dawn, watches mutely.

This cunningly written and well-structured cabaret looks as if it is thrown together by three incompetent old bats, but is clearly the result of the masterly musical-comedy skills of its three performers.

Johns, as the silent Dawn, provides pulsating tuba solos, Lee plays guitar and keyboard, and Johnston excels on keyboard and singing saw – yes, a real saw.

Their version of Santa Claus Is Coming to Town will haunt any child’s Christmas dreams, and a medley transforms popular songs by Lady Gaga, Daft Punk and Sia into Kransky Christmas chaos.

The audience participates with glee, rattling their car keys to Ring of Fire and singing the chorus of Deck The Halls, then the sisters reinvent The Twelve Days of Christmas, assisted by two cheerful victims dragooned from the audience.

This is bizarre and memorable Christmas cabaret that will make you value your normal family and view your Christmas songs in a new light.

by Kate Herbert

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