Living Advent Calendar 20-22 – Genie-ous, Harmonious & Secret Garden

20 December – Genie-ous Surprise!

The panto cast of Aladdin were the surprise act at the Kenton Theatre on night 20 opening their performance with a song from the show Move Your Feet with specially adapted words.

Widow Twankey and her son Wishee Washee then returned to the stage to tell the audience about their struggling laundry business and Widow was looking for a new man including going back later to Waitrose and eyeing up men in the audience.  We loved the joke about Gaviscon (no spoilers here)!

The audience were then invited to a sing-off competition to see which side could sing Jingle Bells the loudest.  After a drum roll, the competition was announced as a draw.

After the show, LAC organiser Richard Rodway got up on stage with Catherine from Blue Peak Accountancy who were the sponsors for the evening to pick out the raffle prizes.  Before they started, Catherine announced that she’d never been on a stage before.  The audience gave Richard a light-hearted boo and shouted out “behind you”.  He said, “No need to ask if you’re feeling festive tonight.”  The raffle was raising money for the Kenton Theatre.

21 December – Harmonious Night with Barbershop Chorus

Leander Club hosted the 21st night of the LAC with mince pies and mulled wine provided by Andy Steer, Director of the Henley Business Partnership, in the bar of the Leander Club before everyone moved outside. It was a beautiful setting, despite the cold, with lights twinkling off the Thames. Richard Rodway said, “There are not many backdrops better than this to the stage than what we have this evening.”

The Thames Valley Chorus, a barbershop chorus, entertained the large crowd with a host of classic Christmas songs including, Walking in a Winter Wonderland, Do You Hear What I Hear?, The First Noel and White Christmas.

They also sang a lively rendition of Jingle Bells, which, despite normally singing in acapella, they added bells for. Anne Fairbrother, Musical Director, joked, “You can’t sing Jingle Bells without bells so some people have bells, I don’t know who, and I am not responsible for what happens with them.”

They also, rather aptly for the Leander Club, included, I want a hippopotamus for Christmas, before finishing their set with We Wish You a Merry Christmas.

The night was in support of the Henley Festival which as Richard Rodway reminded everyone is a charity. He said, “It is not just a shining amazing thing.” Also this year they have launched a new initiative called, Rise, which is to support the next generation of emerging talent and provides opportunities in the programme for unsigned artists as well as  work experience placements for sound, lighting, PR and marketing. The Henley Festival also donated two festival tickets as a raffle prize.

22 December – Kitty in the Secret Garden

The secret garden of Simmons & Sons estate agent was the picture postcard venue for night 22 with singer Kitty Mazinsky performing from an open window on the second floor.

Kitty was returning the to LAC for the second time after her debut in 2019.  Her set was a true festive treat with a mixture of Christmas songs and carols.  She kicked off the show with Rocking Around the Christmas Tree and went on to sing other classics including Let it Snow, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer with the audience joining in.  Before singing Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire Kitty commented “It’s not really Christmas without Nat King Cole.”  She finished with Dreaming of White Christmas remarking beforehand “It’s obligatory to do Bing Crosby.”

The evening was raising money for Thames Valley Animal Welfare and guests enjoyed mulled wine and mince pies provided by hosts Simmons & Sons.

Tonight’s performance will be inside the Town Hall and will be raising money for Camp Mowhawk.  The hosts are LAC organiser Richard Rodway’s firm, THP Solicitors