Arts / Hitting a saw point with the musical Kranskys

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The Kransky Sisters… experts on the art of making music with household implements.

THINGS get off to a bumpy start when “CityNews” speaks by phone to comedian Mourne Kransky, even as she’s cranking up the old 1950 Morris Major ready for an Australian tour with comedy sisters Eve and Dawn.

Armed with a media release that claims the Kransky Sisters are “faux siblings” and that her real name might be that of the actress Annie Lee, we tackle her directly and shocked denial is the response.

“We are not faux sisters, we are real sisters,” she asserts to the audible sound of rottweilers snapping at her heels. From then on in our conversation, it’s “Mourne” and nothing else.

Family, she tells “CityNews, is everything to the Kransky sisters, born to a musical father who loved playing on the saw at the local RSL club in their home town Esk, a real town in south-east Queensland.

Alas, playing “The Flight of the Bumblebee” on the saw defeated him, but he passed on his special style of music to the three girls, who are now experts on the art of making music with household implements.

The beautiful name Mourne, we suggest, conjures up the romantic Mountains of Mourne, but no.

“Our mother couldn’t spell,” she says. “I was born in the morning, I have another sister who was born at dawn and Eve was born in the late arvo – it’s just the different times of the day.”

With an English mother and a Polish father, the family landed in Melbourne, where their uncle lived. Tragedy struck, Mourne reports and he died at the hands of his own invention, a wind-up envelope opener, but every cloud has a silver lining and they inherited his crumbling house in Esk, where they have lived ever since.

“Inventiveness runs in the family,” she says. “I’m very good at using pantyhose on the fan belt and there’s a lot of inventiveness in our stage show, too.”

The three sisters developed their “family get-together” theatre show over a number of years as a reaction to living far away from metropolitan Australia.

That extended to inventing their own brand of music.

“We did listen to the radio sometimes, but mostly we had to make it up,” she says.
Inspired by their father, Mourne, Eve and Dawn developed a talent for playing popular songs on the musical saw, the cheese grater, a 1960s keyboard and a tambourine, “duelling” musically with the kitchen mincer. “You could say it’s all invention,” she observes.

“A Very Kransky Christmas” is their first yuletide show. Asked whether Christmas in Esk differs from Christmas elsewhere, she says she doesn’t know because they “haven’t ever had Christmas anywhere else”.

But, she remembers, there is the unique “Pageant of the Two Llamas”, an Eskian replacement for a reindeer run.

“We put them outside the butcher’s shop and he feeds them mince,” she says. Fruit mince, that is. Although when “CityNews” suggests there is another kind, she promises to check.

As they return to the wider world with their show, they know they have to communicate to southern audiences, so they’ll be playing loved songs familiar to all Canberrans by Sia, Enya, Steppenwolf, Michael Jackson and Nana Mouskouri. There’s even a song by Santa himself, which she describes as “a bit scary, though”.

That brings us to the promoters’ ominous description of the evening as a “macabrely festive show” in which they reveal matters hitherto “shrouded in secrecy”.

Her response is enigmatic. “There is a lovely, dark punk song from the Carpenters and some Simon and Garfunkel, lots of different songs from different people – it’s lovely,” she says.

“We’ve learnt some modern songs, so the one by Sia is mixed up with one by Gotye – with a bit of a melody.”
Without doubt, Mourne says, the highest point is when the sisters share their most treasured items with their fans.

“It’s nice to share things; that means a lot to us and we like to sing along with the audience,” she says.

“A Very Kransky Christmas”, The Playhouse, December 9. Book at  6275 2700.

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Helen Musa
“CityNews” arts editor

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