Christmas is the most stressful time of year. We all know it. It’s easy to get your Grinch on when faced with the Christmas insanity, or the carols that have been wheezed out by high-pitched women over loudspeakers since September.
If you’re finding yourself on Team Bah-Humbug this year, it’s easy to roll your eyes and refuse to see shows with the word ‘Christmas’ in the title. Who could blame you? But there’s one Christmas show you might want to check out.
The Kransky Sisters, who hail from Esk in Queensland, are a blending of whimsy and humour, staggering musical talents, and the stories we all suspect about Aussie rural life. They’re a quirky, endearing trio, and this year, they’ve decided to hold ‘A Very, Very Kransky Christmas’ for those of us not quite moved by the Christmas spirit.
Look, I’m team Grinch, and I own that about myself. So I figured going to see ‘A Very, Very Kransky Christmas’ (QPAC, 21 December) would be an exercise in supporting Aussie comedy rather than a Christmas-affirming experience.
But it’s hard not to love comedians who’ll talk gleefully about the sight of children crying at not getting the junk food they want, and who can make ‘Santa Claus Is Coming To Town’ sound like the terrifying warning it’s always sounded to me.
This isn’t your usual cavalcade of dopily-grinning musicians beaming their way through the typical play-list like they’ve been mainlining the Christmas sherry for hours beforehand. And that is a beautiful, wonderful thing.
It’s easy to get frustrated by the faux cheer of the season, and here, for the first time in my Christmas memory, is a show that doesn’t try and grin its way through the obligatory season’s greetings. Instead, it’s nuanced, vulnerable, and utterly spellbinding viewing, quick to make you laugh, but just as quick to let you drop the idea that Christmas is about acting like you’ve overdone the Prozac.
The joy of the Kransky Sisters is how often it feels like watching a Tim Burton animation brought to dizzying, quirky life. The sisters are at once gloriously surreal and deeply relatable: already a near-impossible feat to manage. And somehow, despite my best intentions, they’ve awoken that child-like Christmas wonder.
It’s not because there’s an abundance of carols: in fact, there’s precious few. Instead, there’s some brilliant mash-ups of far too many earworms from recent pop culture, made haunting and new through the Kransky’s gift of scaling songs back to their most beautiful, visceral bones.
The magic here doesn’t lie in the usual Christmas fripperies. Instead, ‘A Very, Very Kransky Christmas’ pushes those aside to get to the heart of the season, and all its absurdities, tragedies, and wonderfulness.
This may not be the perfect Christmas show if you’re already about as excited as Buddy the Elf. But if your Christmas cheer is on the fritz, this is the perfect remedy.
This is definitely one of the odder Christmas parties you’ll ever be invited to, but for all the quirkiness, it’s a hell of a great night.
4 and a half stars