Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Not Enough of a Twist

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Not Enough of a Twist

Article excerpt

Byline: JOHN AIZLEWOOD

Twisted Christmas Barbican Hall ***

TWISTED Christmas was a terrific idea in theory: invite fairly well-known artists to twist an old Christmas song and perhaps write and perform a new one, all backed by a crack house band.

But the evening fell fairly flat, despite interludes featuring a children's choir, bell-ringers, shadow puppetry and the ever-droll Jeremy Hardy as MC. The line-up was interesting rather than glittering: Jarvis Cocker, former singer of novelty band Pulp; the delightfully camp Patrick Wolf; long-lost Canadian Mary Margaret O'Hara and a slew of lesser lights.

More soul-sapping was the one-paced, detached similarity of approach and the cowardly song selection: nobody dared tackle Merry Xmas Everybody, Stop The Cavalry or even the surely no longer untouchable Do They Know It's Christmas. Instead, acts plumped for the wilfully obscure or, in Wolf's case, the melody-free Coventry Carol. With oomph and joy off the menu, Twisted Christmas's Christmas twisting invariably meant taking a song, slowing it down and crushing its spirit. …

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