[THEATRE/MUSICAL THEATRE ~ SA]
Goodwood Institute Theatre – Main Theatre, Thu 28 Feb.
Familiarity is a good thing in art. It instantly creates a point of reference, something that can be easily related to and creates a link with an audience. And nothing is more familiar than the Christmas Story; even the most hardened atheist would be familiar with the goings on. So how can you tell such a well-known story in a new and exciting way? Add cowboys, gun-slinging angels, western saloons and gossipin’ townsfolk, of course!
That’s what Soul Factor Gospel Choir has done here, with a massive dose of music to drive things along. It’s a musical set in the wild west of the late 1800s in Wyoming, where commonfolk Mary and carpenter Joseph are at the centre of a drought-stricken and gossip laden local town. We have cowboys instead of shepherds, and the three wise men are a toffee Englishman, a German professor and a New York journalist. There’s a greedy politician and even a gang of outlaws to contend with among the cactus, campfires, cock-horses, saloon fights and tumbleweed, and all set to an interesting soundtrack that draws fairly heavily from the genres of both country and western, occasionally straying to blues, soul and gospel.
The tunes aren’t familiar (to me at least, but I’m not much of a country kind of guy!), but are certainly enjoyable. I also appreciated the wide variety of American accents on offer, many quite carefully selected and representative: a nice Easter egg (!) for those who’ve travelled across the Wild West and beyond. There are also a few clever nods in here to those with a good eye and mind.
Quite an entertaining piece that goes well beyond panto; it’s only a short season, so see it quick!
For Unto Y’all – The Very First Christmas In The Wild West continues at Goodwood Institute Theatre – Main Theatre from 8pm until Sun 3 Mar.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.