It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas – and the Adelaide Festival Centre’s 2012 Christmas Proms helps drive the message home with its two-hour Glenn Miller Christmas special.
It’s the war years through and through, with the event paying tribute to Miller and also to the fabulous big band swing era itself… and it’s all done very well.
We are absolutely in the forties and this production (show one being broadcast live on The ABC) pays such attention to the era that there is a lovely element of nostalgia carried all the way through.
The mainly older audience packed the house and enjoyed a delightful array of favourites as ‘Christmasy’ as they come blended with well-known hits of the time in a trip down memory lane. They knew, relished and celebrated every number and the excellent presentations of each.
Adelaide Art Orchestra are in fine form – as tight as it gets – beautifully conducted by Timothy Sexton who is also the welcoming host of this toe tapping Christmas get together. “Sing, clap and enjoy, Sexton encourages at the beginning, and while the house doesn’t join in as much as they are invited to, they do (without any doubt) fully enjoy every moment.
Johanna Allen and Andy Seymour are our two star singers, perfect for this genre of show; jointly flying this glittering musical Sleigh as high as it can soar; together – in perfect harmony, alone – flawless in this big stage, big band form.
The Chattanooga Crooners – a five voice vocal outfit – back up, accompany and at times hold the floor as a singing ensemble, demonstrating their experience and skill as a team who really know how to work together.
The First Noel, Silent Night, Jingle Bells as well as some stand out numbers from the forties (including Andy’s rendition of White Christmas and Johanna’s stunning version of Diamonds are a Girl’s best friend) are but a few to mention from a long and wonderfully structured set list.
To add colour and beauty we were treated to striking and skilful dancing by a couple – exquisite in their practice – and also some on stage clowning. These side acts offered just the right seasoning to this sit down, full course, swinging meal.
Wrapped up in a gorgeous package that is both festive and elegant by designer Kathryn Sproul and served up in just the right portions by director Catherine Fitzgerald, this is a great introduction to the 2012 silly season, and also an excellent round-up of the 2012 Adelaide Theatre Calender.