Losing your wits and your Christmas spirit? Feel hollow and need a break? Drop everything for half an hour and watch Another Christmas, a musical short film celebrating otherness and isolation, while capturing the essence of Christmas. After watching it, you’ll feel merry and at peace again – I promise.
All I need for Christmas is an encore
There are hundreds of Christmas shows, but this is not just another Christmas show despite the title. The yuletide gem from Music Beyond Mainstream presents alternative Christmas stories that resonate with anyone who is feeling isolated or disconnected this festive season. In Artistic Director Laura Ducceschi’s words: “This is about ‘the other’, but we are all the other”. Couldn’t agree more; we all deserve a treat like this after the few years we’ve had.
Another Christmas explores the multiple narratives of Christmas. Film maker Samona Olanipekun takes a kaleidoscopic approach to what doesn’t conform to the traditional Christmas celebrations. The musical performances are filmed in unusual locations intertwining with real life stories, casting real people. It encapsulates the Christmas spirit as it is, with warts and all. Olanipekun’s description of the film as being an anti-John Lewis advert is spot on. The songs are performed as hymns or prayers, some edging on curses. Each digging its way deeper into your soul.
The Irish singer and storyteller Camille O'Sullivan’s version of Fairytale of New York sure isn’t pretty, but it sure is effective. Slipping into character is her forte and the monologue she delivers is perfect in its ugliness. Turning into Douglas Dare, who performs Whamageddon on his piano. Be warned, Last Christmas is on the menu, but Dare’s desperation cuts through the shallow pop anthem like a knife.
Nothing can prepare you to the enigmatic ESKA singing Silent Night like you’ve never heard before. The Mercury-nominated vocalist is an otherworldly character, like a modern-day voodoo priestess. Singing inside the empty Brighton Dome, her voice takes you to a strange place between heaven and hell. The performance is beyond mesmerizing, more like slipping into a trans, ready to follow her anywhere she chooses.
Another Christmas features reinterpreted well-known classics along with performers’ original material. The result is familiar, yet fresh and contemporary. The misplaced, desperate stories did not leave me sad or depressed, they left me elevated. Dare I say, filled with Christmas spirit, edging on something spiritual. That is a lot to say from a hardcore atheist. Instead of isolating, these stories have the ability to connect. All I need for Christmas is an encore.