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All Is Calm - Theatre Review

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by Jenny Esots (subscribe)
A freelance writer and traveller who likes to explore the spiritual, literary and hidden gems of Adelaide and beyond.
Event: -
Moving and Soulful
This production is a hybrid of genres, a musical, drama and spoken word performance. It tells the story of the truce between the English and German army in the trenches on Christmas Eve in 1914. It is told through the songs that were sung at the time and through the letters and poems of the soldiers who lived through the experience.

All is Calm
All is Calm

It is performed by an all-male cast who take their turns to shine. The music and songs are a highlight, from trench songs, to patriotic songs, to Christmas songs, each performed in soulful a cappella harmonies.

All is Calm
All is Calm

The narrative commences with a boy and his elder sitting by a Christmas tree reading about Christmas time and the truce. Later on, in the play, another Christmas tree will appear. A symbol of shared meanings, which is the broader theme. How much we share rather than our differences. At one point a soldier speaks 'What if we all walked away' from those trenches, that war, all wars.

This is a big ensemble cast of fine voices who own their roles
This is a big ensemble cast of fine voices who own their roles

The storyline is illuminated by a backdrop of images. Many set in World War One and the trenches, others evoking the scenes such as the night sky. The main stage is divided into the trench war zone, with the big Christmas tree on the far right. The staging and lighting are all superior and enhance the otherwise sparse scenes

All is Calm
All is Calm

This is a big ensemble cast of fine voices who own their roles. There is a sense that these words are heartfelt. The gatherings, the grief, the ensuing anger.

All is Calm seeks to bring the infamous 1914 Christmas truce of WWI to life on stage. To bring the experience to the audience of being in the trenches when this happened. There are many parallels with the 2017 world premiere of the State Theatre Company production of Long Tan. Long Tan also used re-enactments of the battle scenario, with soldiers calling out their names and when they died. This is where the narrative could use some work for the stage. Perhaps recalling the modern-day boy and his elder rather than a straight timeline of the events.

All is Calm
All is Calm

The production is timed to perfection as it is showing just as Christmas Eve approaches. It is a moving and soulful account that deserves a place as a new Christmas stage tradition. As I walked from the theatre with the songs still in my head, I was surrounded by twinkling Christmas lights and Christmas trees. Christmas enabled crossing the boundary of war and hatred in that most senseless horror of trench warfare. If only for that one Christmas Eve. The play manages to elevate this and pose the question again 'What if that was a war to end all wars.' And even more relevant today 'What if we all walked away'.

This is a big ensemble cast
This is a big ensemble cast of fine voices who own their roles

All is Calm
Goodwood Institute
Thursday, December 21, 8pm
Friday, December 22, 8pm
Saturday, December 23, 3pm & 8pm
Tickets via
Photography: Supplied by Promise Adelaide
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*Jenny Esots was invited as a guest
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Why? A New Christmas Stage Tradition
When: Thursday, December 21, 8pm Friday, December 22, 8pm Saturday, December 23, 3pm & 8pm
Where: The Goodwood Institute 166 Goodwood Road, Goodwood, South Australia 5034
Cost: $20 to $30
Your Comment
I have tickets for this show tonight! Am so looking forward to it, especially after reading your review!
by Paula McManus (score: 3|3671) 1268 days ago
This sounds amazing, great review!
by Jay Johnson (score: 3|1368) 1261 days ago
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