With the increasing commercialisation of Christmas and the concentration on ever more expensive presents, it’s an apposite time to think about the spondulicks, and that’s just what director Gareth Machin and his quartet of multi-tasking singing instrumentalist dancing actors are doing.
The abundantly talented Kieran Buckeridge (the Salisbury Playhouse panto dame for many years), joins Christine Holman, Susannah van den Berg and Tomas Wolstenholme in the show, which also brings Kate Edgar back to the Playhouse as MD and arranger.
Songs range from an archly chilling reworking of the Beatles’ Taxman from Kieron Buckeridge to a poignant version of The Divine Comedy’s Lady of a Certain Age by Christine Holman. Destiny’s Child’s Bills Bills Bills is given the Susannah van den Berg belt treatment, with Tomas Wolstenholme shining in Randy Newman’s It’s Money that I Love. And the marvellous 1960 Flanders and Swann song Design for Living – “We’re terribly house and garden….” is painfully contemporary still, although the Shepherd’s Hut has taken over from the Northumbrian spoke-shaver’s coracle!
Other highlights include Mr Buckeridge’s painful acceptance of the 30s crash in the classic Al Jolson song Brother Can You Spare a Dime, and the ensemble performances of Satisfied Mind, a song covered by scores of performers with its timely warning that money REALLY can’t buy happiness.
The stylish set, designed by Alex Marker, makes for an elegant evening and most audience members will find something to delight and something new to think about. The performances continue until 16th January.