It plays the Congress Theatre, Eastbourne on Wednesday, November 10.
The show features an international cast of singers, musicians and dancers offering favourite Christmas songs including Last Christmas, I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day, Merry Christmas Everybody, All I Want For Christmas Is You, Let It Snow and plus The Fairytale of New York.
But also included in the mix will be some of the greatest Irish sing-along songs of all time including The Galway Girl, The Irish Rover, Wagon Wheel, Dirty Old Town and The Black Velvet Band.
Creator and co-producer Ged Graham is delighted to be back on the stage with it following a completely blank 18 months.
“It’s a Christmas show, but Christmas starts earlier every year, doesn’t it, and I think this year more than any year people are really looking forward to Christmas. We didn’t do it last year. Personally I didn’t work from March 15 to October 1. I came back with Seven Drunken Nights.
“This show was scheduled to go out last year, but Covid has really devastated our industry. I coped by living on my savings. The way I look at it, I took 18 months out of my retirement early. Now I have gone back to work and I am delighted, but I don’t think I’ll be retiring for another 20 years! I might not be retiring at all! Some days I would like to, but I just think how lucky I am to be doing this for work, something that is really interesting and keeps you young, and I will happily carry on doing this.
“But we had 18 months with no work at all. Now we are hoping that we are back and we can carry on, but the world is different. People are coming back, but they’re coming back with masks on and that is good, and the theatres are managing their Covid policies very effectively. I do think people are adapting very well, but yes things are different. Theatres are opening much earlier before the show so people can get in.
“But I do think theatre was always going to recover because there is a real need for it, a real deep-down need. It is one of the oldest art forms. You have thousands of years of history, and people want to see live performance. The internet is great but you can’t beat sitting in the audience watching live shows, warts and all, mistakes and all, seeing the actors and the musicians using their skills to get it right.
“The great thing as a performer is you get the chance to do it again the next night. On TV you might have five or six takes and then that is it forever fixed, but the lovely thing is with theatre you come back again and again and you can try things slightly differently, you judge things slightly differently. You just change things slightly differently and that’s what keeps it very exciting for us and also for the audiences. We have people that come back six or seven or eight or nine times and they will always say that it just feels slightly different each time because it is a different theatre with a different dynamic with the audience with a different audience and things just change.
“The show is halfway between a story and a concert. It is not the cast singing at the audience in a straight concert format. What we do is that we stage each of the songs. We perform the songs without a storyline but each song is staged in a different way. The set design is Central Park in New York so that you have got that coming home for Christmas thing but equally it can be a stately home in Ireland or whatever we need it to be for the particular song we are doing.”
Ged is co-creator for the show: “I wrote the show. I came up with it about five years ago. I had the idea for a good Christmas show that I could bring my family to.”
There were no shows like it. We had done all the pantos and we have been to the Christmas concerts where bands play their Christmas music, and I just thought that we could do something a bit better.”.
And no, Ged doesn’t speak with an Irish accent despite his Irish roots: “We came to England as a family when I was ten years old. I arrived on the Monday morning at school with a thick Dublin accent. By Friday I was a full blown Mancunium. You just adapt at that age. It was a huge culture shock. I had a real Dub accent and you just adapt to fit in.”
And that’s the story of the Irish to an extent, Ged feels: “I think you are more aware of your Irish roots when you move away. You feel more connected with Ireland, more passionate about home because you are away from home. People hang on to their culture.”