Peter Rothstein and the creative team at Theatre Latté Da have done it again – they’ve put together quite the enjoyable show! Theatre Latté Da’s All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 will be showing at the Pantages Theatre in Minneapolis through Sunday, December 22nd.
Walking from the parking garage to the Pantages in the frigid 11 degree weather was almost unbearable. But as soon as we got to the theatre, my sister and I were greeted with kind ushers, excited audience members, and interesting and very well put together display cases with historical artifacts relating to the show. I didn’t really know what to expect from this show, but soon after it began, my still frigid body was warmed by the heartwarming story of two enemies joining together in the spirit of Christmas during a long and cold war.
The performers, made up of the members of Cantus, a professional male vocal ensemble, and three actors, were phenomenal. The show opened with a prelude of songs performed by just Cantus, and their talent was incredible. I was especially blown away through the entire show by the baritone section of Cantus. Their vocal abilities and stage presence was so professional and captivating. The story, told by three actors through actual letters, diary entries, and documents of the time, was so interesting. I’m such a history nerd, and the fact that the entire show was structured by actual historical documents intrigued me. In addition to the three actors telling the story, Cantus added their singing to the story, and even took part in acting as soldiers, which helped make the show more interesting with the added movement and comradery between all of the performers. There was a part of the show, during the actual Christmas Truce scene, where one man started singing “Stille Nacht” (“Silent Night” in German), and I just lost it; I started quietly sobbing in my seat as goosebumps rose up my arm and throughout my body. It was such a beautiful moment in the show, and that’s when I realized just how powerful theatre is.
The technical aspect of the show was very neat as well. The use of fog, fake snow, and beautifully designed special effect lighting brought an entirely new part of the show for me to enjoy.
If there is one piece of criticism I would give, it would have to be in regard to the performance of the tenor section in Cantus. Their voices sounded tired and flat throughout the show, which caused me to wince a couple of times when they were singing under pitch. But the performance of the rest of Cantus and the actors definitely outweighed this negative aspect of the show for me.
Ever since I saw All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914, I have been in the Christmas spirit more-so than any other Christmas of my life! You can bet that I’ll be returning next year to see this show again. Well done, Peter Rothstein and Cantus, well done.