The Kransky Sisters (Dawn, Mourne and Eve) – dressed in identical black wigs, striped blouses with large red bows and long black skirts – quietly enter the stage. They are unassuming, modest women from Esk, a small country town in Queensland.
They tell stories about their childhood and their mother, who was busy entertaining men while the sisters entertained themselves.
These are intertwined with songs, cleverly arranged and beautifully sung – for example, after giving us an anecdote about climbing a mango tree and eating juicy mangoes (there is always some ambiguity and innuendo), the sisters sing “Get Lucky”. Stories of having a Swedish backpacker sleep over provide a perfect opportunity for a Swedish folk song (ABBA).
Mourne does most of the talking; Eve, speaking a little deeper, echoes the last phrases, while Dawn remains silent, only to play the tuba or join in choruses.
They are dry, understated and poker-faced, but when they break into song they are sensational. Their harmonies and arrangements are unique and beautiful to hear.
Eve plays the saw and accompanies several songs, but she has one solo “Silent Night” which had the audience spellbound.
There are some great lines in A Kransky Christmas, and the Kranskys are fabulous at audience participation. They had us singing along with “fa la la” (or similar nonsense words) in “Deck the Halls”, then jingling house and car keys for “Jingle Bells”, which led to a reference about a certain game their mother used to play. The involvement of two men enticed on stage was in good spirit and a visual treat.
A Very Kransky Christmas is like being in the company of three spinster aunts who are living in the past and are occasionally a bit spooky – but then they burst into amazing renditions of songs old and new. Along the way we are given insights into their dreams and fears in a way that has us feeling for their sorrow, but then a joke dispels the empathy and has us back in the palms of the comediennes.
It is a style of theatre that this trio has perfected and it had the audience in stitches on opening night show, leading to a standing ovation and a well-deserved encore.
The Kransky Sisters may have experienced disappointment in their own lives but they won’t disappoint you. A guaranteed night of good laughs and terrific music.
A Very Kransky Christmas is being presented at the Adelaide Festival Centre’s Space Theatre, with performances continuing until Sunday.
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