So Christmas 2016 has been and gone and, for the public servants among us, the magical shutdown period is quietly coming to an end. If you're like me, you've used shutdown to meet up with old friends, catch up on odd jobs around the house and, if I'm being honest here, desperately try to block out the heat enough to sleep in past 7 every morning. If I can manage that I feel spoilt enough.
But there's one more guilty pleasure I must admit to: I've been loving the movies. I love the Christmas classics – The Holiday, Love Actually, Die Hard – that surface from DVD collections in the week leading up to Christmas, DVD collections that we'd neglected since Housemate #1 invested in Netflix. But shutdown also gives me the luxury of time and patience. As is typically the case, 2016 got busier as it went on and I didn't have the time to watch a movie. And while my film tastes are eclectic and I'm reasonably happy to give most things a go, I didn't have the energy to negotiate for one of my films on the rare occasion all three of us watched a film together (FYI I am confident I would have the support from the Netflixer but not Housemate #2, a fan of The Bachelor).
I'm a closeted musical fan and, with the TV to myself for the first time in months, they all came out. In the space of 10 days, I've celebrated Lincoln's birthday with Bing and Fred in Holiday Inn, sung along with Doris in Calamity Jane and scatted with Satchmo in High Society, perhaps my all-time favourite. I even surprised myself when I managed to recite Hello Dolly as I was watching it. And in case you're wondering if I'm pulling your leg, I am under 30 years of age (and of the smashed avo set as I was told today) and really am that lame.
So why am I telling you this? My hope is that this background, and my honesty about just how uncool I am among my peers, will lend weight to this request: I wholeheartedly recommend you see the Canberra Philharmonic Society's production of Chicago in March 2017.
I have not seen Chicago on stage but I'm aware of the general gist – the show tells the stories of Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart, two wannabe vaudeville performers who are charged with the murder of their respective lovers in 1920s Chicago. The show had long stints on Broadway and West End, and the film version picked up an Oscar a couple of years ago.
But what makes me most excited about this one? It's the Philo. They are incredible and have been entertaining Canberra crowds with their enthusiastic performances since 1951. I was blown away by their last two productions and I regret not telling others about these shows sooner. This desperate spruik is my attempt at redemption.
The Canberra Philharmonic Society
As we're two months out from opening night, I can't give you any specifics. But I can tell you that the Philo are strong across the stage and that I cannot think of a more professional amateur outfit in Canberra. In Rock of Ages, I was blown away by the commitment of the entire cast – a fantastic mix of young and old – and the incredible sound produced in group numbers, by far the best I'd heard. In Anything Goes, the cast once again shone. The comedic timing was spot on, the audience were in stitches and the sound and lighting was impressive. Set and props in both were on point, and the music was so good I would have walked out with CDs had they been available.
The Philo performs at Erindale Theatre and I've got to say, I really like it. Facilities are great and the range of food options nearby means I can sneak in an easy dinner and a glass or two of wine before heading into the show. How civilised is that?
So if you find yourself hankering for a good show and a great night out - or some of that ol' Razzle Dazzle - get your tickets now. Chicago runs from 9 to 25 March 2017, with tickets starting at $25 and available now by visiting here.
PS - If any of the Philo are reading this, can I put in a request for High Society as the next show?