Holiday cabaret cheers Toronto theatre audiences in Christmas with Hi & Lo
What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘cabaret’? Crooning love songs, cheesy jokes and a touch of a story line to string it all together? Throw in a dash of Christmas cheer and that is exactly what you get at Christmas with Hi & Lo playing at Gallery 345 and featuring John Alcorn and Kyra Millan.
The audience is whisked back to the 1960s and welcomed into the home of Hi and Lois for a holiday party. The eccentric couple share their favorite tunes with their guests including holiday favorites such as “Sleigh Ride” and “Christmas Time is Here” as well as classic love songs and memorable show tunes.
The characters were clearly created to compliment Alcorn and Millan’s musical backgrounds. Alcorn’s character Hi is a chauvinistic crooner who hides his true profession of CSI agent from his wife behind the guise of being a professional chef. He is frequently making comments about his hatred of communism and his views on the role of women. His wife, Lois, is a housewife and opera singer, and frequently complains about her husband’s mistreatment, yet is still swooned by his constant sweet talk.
Alcorn and Millan show off their respective vocal styles in between snide remarks to each other masked by cheery dispositions. Their display of being the perfect couple barely masks the comedic dysfunction underneath. Maybe not the healthiest relationship, but it definitely allows for many a laugh.
In true cabaret spirit the storyline is merely there to allow the performers to indulge in their favorite tunes. During the first set this technique works quite wonderfully. After intermission though, my guest and I noticed a significant dip in the through line. The silly storyline that had been developing seemed to get thrown out the window. The music was still beautiful, but the transitions between songs seemed a little wishy-washy. There were lots of “I love you” and “Merry Christmas” but not much else in terms of dialogue.
Still, Christmas with Hi & Lo had great holiday cheer, without being over saturated with the expected holiday season classics. It was a fun night out that really helped get me in the Christmas spirit. Any cabaret lovers wishing to boost their festive mood should put it on their December to do list.