“Aida”, Opera Australia at Sydney Opera House until August 31. Reviewed by HELEN MUSA
KIRSTY Budding, one of the busiest directors on the block, is making life difficult for herself this season by staging not one but two festive productions.
Hotly anticipated after months of auditioning for young talent, Budding’s “The Christmas Channel” is aimed at repeating the success of her pastiche of Christmas family entertainment, “The Fairytale Channel”.
Featuring more than 40 of Canberra’s most talented children and youth, it shows the Brown family – mum, dad, Annie and Lilly – going to war over the TV remote in a whirlwind of familiar jingles, scenes and songs from Christmas with a bit of dancing thrown in, too.
What they find as they jump channels will doubtless amaze. A little girl goes walking in the air with a magical snowman, a boy is left home alone on Christmas Eve, a ballerina dances to “The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy”, grandma sings along to “Songs of Praise” and check-out workers sing and dance about how Christmas prices are down and staying down.
Most shocking will be Santa’s (Elliot Cleaves) search for love in the skit “Santa’s Blind Date”, which asks, who will win his heart – the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, or Debra the Lighting Assistant?
Not content with satisfying the young, Budding has devised an ostentatiously theatrical launch for adults for her new book, “Paper Cuts: Comedic and Satirical Monologues for Audition or Performance”.
She’s lined up an all-star cast of 26 Canberra theatrical veterans to test out the audition pieces on stage.
Elaine Noon performs “Mother to an Adult Daughter” and “Caravan Dreams”, Helen Way performs “Disturbed Dance Instructor”, Phillip Mackenzie performs “Gertrude’s Sweetheart” and “CityNews” theatre critic, John Lombard, performs “The Smitten Scientist” – there are many more.
- “The Christmas Channel “, 6pm, December 20-23 and 11am and 2pm, Saturday, December 23.
- Book launch and show 8pm, December 21-23,
Both are at the Courtyard Studio, Canberra Theatre Centre, and bookable via canberratheatrecentre.com.au or 6275 2700.