Happy Holidays (Percussimo)
Contemporary percussion ensemble Percussimo’s final show of 2016, “Happy Holidays” is an entertaining and engaging show of personality and holiday hijinks of the musical kind. The program is full of numbers around the Christmas theme, as well as some extras befitting the show’s end of year timing and sensitivity, such as a gentle, touching ‘Pure Imagination’ tribute to Gene Wilder.
It starts with the jazzy ‘Glitzville’, which not only sets the celebratory scene, but showcases Alice Emor-Kan’s multi-instrumental talent. As always, the program also serves as an impressive display of the depth and multiple dimensions of the percussive arts and, accordingly, the signature song, Resident Composer and Arranger Steve Stiller’s ‘Sticks Lightning’ serves as a highlight, with glowing drum sticks adding to the excitement of its frenzied pace.
There is interaction too, as, supported by Creative Director Tina Liu’s instruction, select audience members join in with the playing their own triangles and finger cymbals in ‘Christmas Time is Here’, which adds to the excitement of many of the youngest audience members. However, nothing compares to their enthusiasm for ‘Barnyard Boogie’, a cute and cheeky vocal percussion piece which sees a puppet show share of a ‘Silent Night’ and Old Macdonald mashup.
The 10 show program (plus encore) never lags due to its diversity. From its ‘Holiday Favourites’ uptempo blend of 10 carols (showing that you don’t need lyrics to capture the spirit of the season) to Uncle Steve’s storytelling of ‘The Night Before Christmas’ with an Aussie twist, the show includes something for adults and children alike. And Claver Theatre is a great venue with its big, open stage perfectly catering for the group’s eight musicians and their instruments (even if bassist Nick Cao is, unfortunately, hidden from view from the first three numbers).
“Happy Holidays” is everything promised by its title. From a big and boisterous ‘Jingle Bells?’ to a feel-good clap-along ‘All I Want For Christmas is You’, the show is full of infectious happiness, holiday spirit and honest percussion talent. As such, it is an unforgettable experience for the whole family, which befits its theme of connection and share of the Christmas spirit.