KAROLAOKE | London, Palm2

Christmas. Singalong. Which cold-hearted Scrooge would not want to be party to that evening, especially when it’s taking place in the boho-chic setting of Palm2’s upstairs venue complete with mulled wine fumes and paper chains?

Coveryard‘s 12-piece chamber orchestra provide the festive accompaniment for a string of seasonal faves, each more inventive than the last. From ‘Jingle bells’ to ‘Here it is Merry Christmas’, the occasionally knit-worn crowd gradually got into the swing of things and by the time the dubiously-thematic but none-the-less adored ‘Let It Go’ was whipped out (complete with party poppers for use at the audience’s discretion) there was no turning back.

Where the evening went above and beyond your average chamber-pop inspired Christmas carol sing-along extravaganza was through the commissions that peppered the programme. These anti-carols ranged from Josephine Stephenson’s darkly pensive setting of a text inspired by ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’ via Sarah Latto’s reflections on the state and influence of the Christmas economy.

Perhaps Thom Andrewes introduction to his commission pairing live choir and looped, spliced and diced Sigur Rós-esque vocal samples best encapsulated the manic brilliance of the evening. ‘It’s based around the idea that if you play carols backwards you can hear revolutionary slogans’ he explained in an almost impenetrable deadpan.

KAROLAOKE is Christmas but not as you know it. If you want to know it (biblically-speaking) the 3-night run concludes Thursday 17 December.

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