The excitement and electricity that fills the space as you enter The Pheasantry cannot be ignored; the hustle and bustle in anticipation of the evening’s entertainment- Camp As Christmas by All That Malarkey- is simply contagious. A grand piano is sat in the curve of a staircase which makes up part of the performance space, with four microphones lined up along the front of the stage as David George Harrington, the group’s hilarious MC, welcomes the singers: Amy Elizabeth Fuller, Eleias Roberts, Frances Gregory and Roland George Harrad.
Christmas cheer is abound from the get go as the singers wear matching black and red ensembles, the ladies looking especially wonderful in their black glittery tops and flared velvet skirt, sealed with a red Christmas bow around their waists. Without knowing much about this group before experiencing this night, I was pleasantly surprised by the cornucopia of raunchy festive puns sprinkled throughout the evening performed by these classically trained singers.
What is rather impressive is the fact that every song is arranged by Harrington, his comedy suggestive but not tasteless, which is a fine line to toe. His arrangements span from Christmas classics such as ‘Santa Clause Is Coming To Town’, ‘Carol of the Bells’, ‘Jingle Bells’, ‘Sleigh Ride’, ‘All I Want For Christmas’ and ‘I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause’, but one of the standout pieces is a relatively unexpected George Michael Medley. Harrington steals the show with his, let’s say, unique conducting style as well as his spectacular piano playing.
A standout performance is also given by Fuller and Gregory with their rendition of ‘River’ by Joni Mitchell, however the overlapping harmonies from the voices of each singer is a pleasure on the ear, and as the night goes on, the crowd is audibly on their side. Each singer brings their own flare to their performances, making it difficult to keep your eyes on one person; the fact they are having so much fun means that you don’t want to miss a second. They are skilled in bringing the audience’s attention to a silent focus when given the chance to show off their vocal skills in a more ‘traditional’ way, as evidenced in their rendition of ‘Silent Night’.
A festive fool’s pipe dream that describes its covers as sketch songs, there is talent in abundance as seen in the juxtaposition of such fantastic renditions with sudden moments of humour. Christmas jollity stays with you until the following day, with All That Malarkey’s songs ringing in your ears.
Camp As Christmas played The Pheasantry until 10 December 2018. For more information and tickets, click here.