‘Tis the season to be sexy, sultry, sassy & saucy as comedic compatriots Stuart Hiseler and Karen Myatt bring their hilarious take on the holidays to Casino Nova Scotia in Halifax on December 10 & 17. Recently we quizzed the quirky couple on the show.
What inspired you to put this show together?KM: Stuart and I had a ball presenting “A Wild Abandon Christmas” last year in Halifax. It was a one night only event and we knew by the end of the evening that it would not be its only hurrah! The possibilities are endless for a holiday cabaret…and we could not wait to put our own special spin on the season.
SH: As in our other performances, we draw from our own lives and experiences. We felt like we had something unique to say about the Holiday season that maybe a little different than the usual, traditional take on Christmas.
How has it evolved since that first performance?KM; As with all of our material, the show is constantly being work-shopped and improved upon. Some things work and some don’t, and a lot of the time this is not discovered until we are before a live audience. Luckily with this show…most of the piece has remained intact…with a few new moments to keep it spicy!
SH: We only had one go at it last year. When we took a look at the structure it was clear that it was far too long (by about an hour). The audience loved it but it’s a lot to ask for people to focus for that long. They need to go to the bathroom but don’t want to miss anything! We worked to distill it down to reflect more clearly what we wanted to express and also how our own feelings are different from the time of its previous incarnation.
What was last year’s show like?KM: The Christmas show had a few what I like to call; “complete pandemonium” moments. This show in particular, came to a complete stop at times because the response was so huge! (I won’t disclose what these moments are…) My memories of last year’s show continue to be some of my absolute favorites. It is how we knew we had to bring A Wild Abandon Christmas back.
SH: We had carolers as a warm up act and we also “special guest singers”. This year it’s going to be just “us” along with our fabulous band of Scott Taylor, Fayette Taylor and Stephanie McKeown. It was an exuberant and enthusiastically received show. Parts of the show were so unexpected that there was pandemonium in the house on several occasions.
How is it different from what you two normally do?KM: The holiday theme is the obvious difference. Most of the music is not Christmas related but we’ve managed to give it a new holiday twist. The Casino’s Harbourfront Lounge is a new venue for us, and we are so excited to play in this room with it’s beautiful view, great bar and sexy atmosphere. Oh! Also -more nudity. Whut?
SH: Only the theme is different. As usual, we’ve taken our own lives and put them up for display. Using stories, dialogue and mostly non-Christmas songs (from musical theatre, jazz and pop) and woven them into a context that makes them relevant to the Christmas season. There are also some traditional “Seasonal” songs but with a few little twists added.
Do you have a favorite number in the production?KM: Difficult to choose…but among my favorites are: the epic ballad of a 6 yr old, a dedication to my Grandmother, and a particular medley that is a wee bit on the naughty side.
SH: There is so much wonderful material in this show it’s difficult to choose a favourite. Comedy songs, a few heartfelt ballads, great duets, hilarious banter and stories. Of course it’s great to be working with Karen on stage. We have an easy chemistry that allows for spontaneity. Maybe my favourite number will be discovered on Dec. 10 or Dec. 17.
You have billed the show as being “sometimes naughty, sometimes nice” – care to explain?KM: Hmmmm. All I will say is we pay mini tribute to everyone in this show…Kids from 1 to 92, Santa, Jesus, Sluts…the list goes on.
SH: Well….I wouldn’t want to give anything away but……we wanted to acknowledge that the holidays are not always a perfect Victorian scene. Often Christmas can be dark, or off kilter, drunk or sexy (Hmmm, maybe it is Victorian after all). There are all sorts of ways Christmas can be represented. Christmas isn’t just for Jesus and Children.
What can audiences expect on Dec 10& 17?KM: I really do mean it when I say we have a little bit of everything in here. A huge range of musical styles, tons of traditional tunes and even more new ones, general hilarity of course, and hopefully a little pandemonium! A fun-filled, fast-paced festive evening!
SH: A very entertaining, funny and often insightful evening of great singing and stories. There really is something for everyone as far as musical styles and sensibilities; from the traditional to the absurd. We’re excited to be in the beautiful and festive Harbourfront Lounge at Casino Nova Scotia. Of course the bar will be open and there are restaurants on site and nearby so people can make a whole evening of it.
Is this something you will continue to do in the years to come?KM: This is such a great time of year to celebrate, I am sure we will continue with a holiday show. I imagine we will either take this show on the road next year, or write a whole new Wild Abandon Christmas Show for Halifax audiences. We’ve had such wonderful support here, that we’ll want to continue creating for many years to come!
SH: Yes, if we have something fresh to say. I’d hate to get stuck into Wild Abandon Christmas 3, 4 & 5 if there were really not new ideas to explore and play with. This is such a fun and well, structured show at this point that next year we’re going to take our act on the road and share A Wild Abandon Christmas with a wider audience