‘Merry Mixology’ // Outside the Jukebox

‘Merry Mixology’ was nostalgic.

What do you get when you add a tipple festivity, a splash of breathtaking harmonies and a shot of old school glamour? You get ‘Merry Mixology’, the soon to be classic cabaret in the Brisbane scene shaking up the silly season.

As you step into the Mix Bar, you are transported to ‘years gone by’ when exquisite singers serenaded cocktail sipping audiences. Outside the Jukebox have captured this elegant essence in ‘Merry Mixology’ as they treat audiences to a night of out-of-this-world vocals, gorgeous arrangements and a whole lotta fun in this boozy Christmas cabaret.

‘Merry Mixology’ unfolds in four punchy ‘episodes’ evoking a vintage variety TV show, each paired with its own retro cocktail and hosted by a different dazzling Christmas ‘celebrity’ who brings out their own flavours and feelings of the season.

Between stunning arrangements of traditional Christmas songs, the majority by Marcia Penman and Nathaniel Stevenson, as well as hilarious parodies, this show truly had something for everyone to get into the festive spirit.

A particular highlight included a clever running gag across all four episodes as we listened to a hilarious rendition of the ‘12 Days of Christmas’ and witness the gift recipients increasing horror at waking up each day to new absurd gifts of unwanted poultry at her door.

A personal favourite musical number was a truly mesmerising performance from the whole cast of ‘River/Both Sides, Now’ arranged by Nathaniel Stevenson which brought a beautiful change of pace to the show.

At times, the dialogue between the musical numbers could have done with being revised slightly to hit the same exceptional quality and wit as their musical numbers, but overall it started to find its groove as the show progressed.

Set in the intimate Mix Bar, this was perfect for evoking the cosy and casual style of the show. As the views of the stage and diction clarity varied around the space, make sure to arrive at the venue as soon as the doors open to get seats at the front and enjoy this Christmas cracker of a show to its fullest.

The performers and creators Oliver Samson as Pudding Thee Elf, Hannah Grondin as Jackson Frost, Hayden Rodgers as Mrs Missy Clause and Marcia Penman as Estelle the Christmas Star were exceptional, delivering jaw dropping vocals, beautifully blended harmonies and fabulous comic timing for a real Christmas treat.

As Pudding Thee Elf, Oliver Samson was bashful and endearing, juxtaposed with a gigantic voice. The running gag revealing the truth of Pudding’s relationship with Mrs Missy Clause was an entertaining theme throughout the show and his duet with Penman as German siblings performing an operatic rendition of ‘Silent Nacht’ was an absolute showstopper.

In the role of Pudding’s record producer, Jackson Frost, Hannah Grondin was slick and suave. Her vocal ability was outstanding as she easily transitioned between the smooth jazz and contemporary pieces of the show, highlighting her fantastic range and powerhouse voice.

Bringing the glamour as Mrs Missy Clause, Rodgers was elegant, fearless and cheeky. Their voice transitioned beautifully from the higher register to their more natural lower register with ease. This was particularly showcased through their ability to blend into the harmonies in the various carol pieces.

Marcia Penman as Estelle, the Christmas Star shone throughout the performance. Her quirky expressions and over-the-top character voice exuded infectious energy. Penman’s gorgeous soprano soared throughout the musical numbers and was truly a wonder to watch.

The show would not be complete without acknowledging the three-piece band that supported the musical numbers, Cam McConville on piano, Annie Silva-McKnight on double bass and violin and Tracie Rebmoc on drums and percussion. The trio never missed a beat and lifted the show.

‘Merry Mixology’ is shaking up the festive season until Friday, 22 December. Tickets are available on the Outside the Jukebox website.

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