Review – Christmas Actually: a slick and highly entertaining production
Fun actually... the cast in action and Naomi Price. Photos by Dylan Evans.
By Adam Brunes and Naomi Price
Little Red Company Production
Presented by La Boite theatre company
Season: November 27-December 7. Duration: 90 minutes without interval. Bookings: qtix.com.au
Here was another slick and highly entertaining production from the Little Red Company one hat definitely should not be missed. There was also a dynamite performance from Naomi Price that should not be missed. I saw her in Lady Beatle back in August and said at the time: “Naomi Price must be one of the best lyric interpreters in the country. Her considerable acting talents were also very much on show.”
Nothing has changed. For more than 90 minutes on opening night (and a singalong in the foyer afterwards) Naomi powered her way through the movie’s musical hits and shared the stage with a trio of top vocalists - Stefanie Caccamo, Tom Oliver and Alex Rathgeber and a four-piece band versatile enough to cover all the styles of songs - Mik Easterman, (drums); Michael Manikus, (keyboard); Scott French, (guitar) and OJ Newcomb (bass).
Naomi’s success secret is her on-stage persona; light, happy and above all fun-loving and open. Her comic timing is finely honed and her stage presence is startling. I just love watching her work.
But a Little Red Company production is always more than just a bunch of songs strung together. There is a script and a lead character; in this case it is Naomi herself. The script written by Naomi and Adam Brunes was brilliant in itself. It created a fun-loving, wisecracking woman who is prone to fits of eye-sparkling profanity and some tall tales. How especially hilarious was the tale of woe from her primary school production of the nativity! It was one of the funniest bits of an often very funny night.
The Roundhouse can be a difficult hall for live music but Geoff McGahan’s sound design was spot on and so was Sam Gibb’s Lighting Design.
The song list included so many different styles and included Jump (for My Love), Too Lost in You, The Trouble with Love Is, Here with Me, Turn Me On, Both Sides Now, All I Want for Christmas is You, add an amazing version of White Christmas and a jingle of Christmas pop as a finale and you have the perfect Christmas show – and an adoring audience loved very second.
Naomi had fun with the audience and won hearts in every corner of the Roundhouse Theatre and joined in the backing vocals on stage as the other singers took their solo spot. She is a generous performer.
For the uninitiated Christmas Actually is a show that converts the soundtrack of the 2003 movie Love Actually into a terrific 90-minute musical extravaganza. The movie delves into different aspects of love as shown through ten separate stories involving a wide variety of individuals, many of whom are shown to be interlinked as the tales progress. The story begins five weeks before Christmas and is played out in a weekly countdown until the holiday, followed by an epilogue that takes place one month later.
. This is a return season after a sell-out season in last year – and there were many back for a second bite, some Love Actually fans others fans of Naomi.
When this season ends it will move on to the Sydney Opera house. Lucky Sydney!
Warnings: Infrequent coarse language, adult themes and theatrical haze.
Stefanie Caccamo and Alex Rathgeber