‘Twas seven days before Christmas when I went to watch All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914. It runs at the Pantages Theatre from December 19th-December 22nd. Quite honestly, this show went above and beyond my expectations; although the bar may have been set quite a bit low to begin with. I thought that this would be some kind of cheesy show about two families feuding and then making up for Christmas in 1914. Even a man sitting next to me said, “I thought it would be a little Christmas caroling.” Not only did this show amaze me, but it was also on a fascinating series of events that has never been repeated since.
Around the Christmas of 1914, the first year of World War I, firing began to cease in random places along the Western Front and singing and season’s greetings were thrown across the trenches. But on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, English and German men—and a few French—ventured out into “No Man’s Land” to exchange food, tobacco, souvenirs, and bury one another’s dead. But this only lasted about a week before orders from above prevented them from further fraternization. All is Calm summarizes this spectacular event through acting out the words of witnesses and music.
I was completely blown away by the amount of talent in this show; particularly the vocal group “Cantus”. Their singing was so perfect, it sounded like I was listening to them on a CD. I was even more impressed by how smooth their voices blended and moved together; as if they could read each other’s mind. Such singing requires dedication and constant practicing. Their tone was so rich and succulent it wrapped around the entire audience, their dynamics so intense it made the audience still, and their phrasing so perfect it made the audience sigh with content. It was so beautiful and so sweet to my ears that I almost fell asleep. Now, don’t get me wrong, there wasn’t anything wrong at all with the story itself or the singers or even the actors. Everything just melded together in a delectable cacophony of sound that I felt so comfortable in my little chair and relaxed for the first time that day.
I appreciated that the costumes were completely black; that way, I was able to focus on what the performers were saying or singing, instead of what they were wearing. I was also exceedingly impressed by the technical aspect of the show. They changed smoothly according to the mood of the song and added instead of distracted. I noticed that when the snow fell, it never fell at the same rate; and when the moon came out, it was projected onto a screen instead of one of those cheesy moons that are flown in. The awareness of the actors and their surroundings was also amazing because when the actors were not highlighted by light, you couldn’t tell them from the singers; but when they were, they came alive into each person and told their story whether they were English, German or French.
Overall, this show was so well put together; it seemed almost as if I were in a high-class concert. No one ever left the stage and it definitely did not feel like I was sitting there for an hour and fifteen minutes. For anyone looking for a heartwarming show that sounds good, looks good, and feels good, this would be a fantastic show to see to get immersed in the Christmas spirit.