Another Glorious Start To The Holidays With “All Is Calm”

What is becoming a holiday happening blossoms on stage again with a whole new cast as Mustard Seed Theatre brings “All Is Calm” back to the boards. This marvelous piece about the famed Christmas Truce of 1914 is remarkable because of the story it tells but also for the beautiful a cappella  score that simply soars with eleven male voices blending into a flawless presentation.

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The cast of “All Is Calm” at Mustard Seed Theatre. Photo: John Lamb

The story is a simple one- during the Great War the German soldiers can be heard singing across no-man’s land by the British battalion on the other side as Christmas draws near. Applause ensues and then an exchange of songs rather than bullets breaks out which leads to a hesitant exchange in the middle of no-man’s land and then a friendship like no other as the soldiers communicate, trade stories and personal items and even engage in a friendly game of football before the higher-ups call a cease fire to the fun and, by the next day, they’re back to shooting at each other across the line.

But this story is told in actual letters and historical documents from the period with the bulk of the dialogue being in song using mainly traditional music of the season. To hear these exquisite voices roll over the audience is enough to bring a tear to everyone’s eye. It’s a powerful piece of theatre that never fails to inspire and move us. This year’s group of actors is especially adept at the intricate harmonies that bring out the richness of the score. Tricky key changes and modulations can be heard and admired and the bass line is extremely strong this year as well. Musically, it’s probably the best presentation yet.

Paul Cereghino gets to open the show as he strolls on stage singing “Will Ye Go To Flanders” before the entire cast joins him onstage. You know immediately that this is going to be something special. Luke Steingruby gets the premiere piece as he does beautifully with “O Holy Night” sung in French. The entire cast is tremendous as both singers and actors including great work by Steve Isom, Ben Nordstrom, Will Bonfiglio, and Gerry Love. Charlie Barron is most effective in several roles and this marvelous cast also includes powerful characterizations by Tim Schall, Greg Lhamon, Kelvin Urday and Tyler Cheatem.

With the marvelous script conceived by Peter Rothstein and musical arrangements by Erick Lichte and Timothy C. Takach, “All Is Calm” starts the season right. Director Deanna Jent and music director Joe Schoen give us a stunning production and special nod to Richard Lewis as dialect coach. Everyone mastered the difficult task of switching characters throughout and thus changing accents on a moment’s notice.

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Kyra Bishop’s set design is right on the mark and the lights of Michael Sullivan set the proper mood. Jane Sullivan’s costumes are perfect as the whole picture comes into focus  beautifully. This is a remarkable achievement and one play that should not be missed during this holiday season. “All Is Calm” runs through December 20th at Mustard Seed on the Fontbonne campus. Give them a call at 314-719-8060 for tickets or more information.

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One Response to “Another Glorious Start To The Holidays With “All Is Calm””

  1. Stage Door St. Louis Review: “All Is Calm” at Mustard Seed Theatre | Luke Steingruby Says:

    […] Full Article […]

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