The Kransky Sisters are eldest Mourne, middle Eve and their younger half-sister Dawn. All were raised to be very proper, like the Queen. In their hometown of Esk in Queensland, the sisters put their own stamp on pop songs heard on their wireless using instruments including a saw, clunky old reed organ and tuba. Yet again, they’ve loaded up their old Morris to drive around Australia and give us their unique interpretations. Their new show Piece of Cake is another delight of musical oddity and character comedy that’s as clean and delicious as a freshly-baked vanilla sponge.
Past shows by The Kransky Sisters have told us tales of Esk and road trips and, as I haven’t seen them for a while, I was keen to see their latest recipe. Reviewing them for the first time means that I have to pin down why I grin like a fool when I watch them. Their surprising arrangements of songs from ABBA to Beyoncé make the show just odd good fun by itself. However, the real craft of the writing is that it uses some domestic situation or disappointment as a segue to the next tune, and as they disguise the original, the song becomes the punchline. Also, the very proper delivery of the sisters not only provides an amusing contrast to an AC/DC anthem for example, it tends to bring lyrics to the fore making us rethink familiar songs.
The whole show is cleverly put together so that anyone unfamiliar with the sisters quickly gets a sense of their upbringing and naive nature. Snippets of recollections catalyse reactions in the generally deadpan characters of Mourne, Eve and Dawn and simmering tensions are shown through some appealing touches. For example, in recalling a local tradesman, Mourne utters the name of a rival for his affections with a leashed rage. During a scolding by Mourne, Dawn sinks like a failed soufflé and fights to control a nervous lip tremble, while Eve widens her eyes. A palpable sense of history between the characters makes them a believable family. A scene using men from the audience, which was similar to that from past shows, was successfully used here to uncover the Kranskys repressed desires, allowing them to range from sad to comical.
The Hi-Fi is a pretty big room for comedy, so the experience of those towards the back might be slightly diminished by not being able to see some of the subtleties of mannerisms. This is a minor issue in another enjoyable show by the Kranskys. They get good crowds nowadays (they’ve even moved on from selling you their teatowels themselves) and it’s great to see that they haven’t gone for the lazy packet mix and continue to cook us something fresh.