The Kransky Sisters hail from Esk in rural Queensland, in what seems like a bygone era. They like to tour together, often road-tripping around Australia in their vintage Morris. Typically, a gig by “The Kranskys” features their take on songs heard at home on “the wireless”. Appropriately, A Very Kransky Christmas blends Christmas carols and recollections of kooky family Yuletides into the mix.
Kooky comes quite naturally (possibly genetically) to this singing trio. The hints of what we could call “Australian Gothic” start with their appearance. The pale sisters modestly dress alike in long sleeves and skirts, raven hair starched into the same rigid hairstyles.
Instruments – some drawn from around the house – are shared around, but each Kransky has their specialty. Eldest Mourne strums guitar, middle sister Eve the saw and some plastic clunky mini organ played with a toilet brush. Youngest Dawn – mute when not singing and always pointedly introduced as having a different father – plays tuba.
The array of instruments on offer, and disregard for conventions, allow the Kransky sisters to put a surprising slant on well-known songs. Their repertoire ranges from classic AC/DC to Sia, and the uninitiated will surely be intrigued and amused by the eccentricity of the interpretations. Kransky fans will enjoy hearing some old favourites from their back catalogue.
A Kransky show features tales of their upbringing and life together. Here, they cleverly chose Christmas as a theme, given how it brings out the best (and sometimes the worst) of families. Recollections of the festive season and upholding traditions (I intend to steal the idea of hanging choko decorations) further flesh out the family’s oddity, often to humorous effect.
We meander through stories that might be unrelated at times. This isn’t really out of place though, as it reminds us of those Christmas meals subject to random recollections of family events. Also, the piece is consistently very entertaining.
Comedy and tragedy can be finely balanced in a Kranskys show. Whilst we can feel a certain sympathy for the deprived lives of the sisters, we never dwell on this. Even if they are competitive, or jealous, or even quite unfair towards each other, their music holds them together whilst it delights us.
A Very Kransky Christmas
The Alex Theatre, 1 / 135 Fitzroy Street, St. Kilda
Performance: Wednesday 28 November 2018 – 7.30pm
Season continues to 2 December 2018
A Very Kransky Christmas will also play the Sydney Opera House (5 – 8 December); Canberra Theatre Centre (9 December); Heath Ledger Theatre, Perth (13 – 15 December); and the Cremorne Theatre – QPAC, Brisbane (18 – 22 December). For more information, visit: www.thekranskysisters.com for details.
Image: Dawn, Mourne and Eve star in A Very Kransky Christmas (supplied)
Review: Jason Whyte