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Leone Grand Christmas Show ReviewA Talent Show-off to Celebrate Christmas

Reviewing The Leone Grand Christmas Show

Literally! It was a talent show-off with which the Aurora Theatre and the Leone Band chose to celebrate this Christmas in their landmark production for the festive season. Now into its 6th consecutive year, The Leone Grand Christmas Show seems to have established itself as the forerunner amongst the Christmas-theatre productions in Gozo.

This popularity can be attributed to various factors, but summing it up, it is credit to the bountiful talent which the Aurora theatre managed to get on board, both as far as on-stage and back-stage are concerned. In this regard, The Leone Grand Christmas Show certainly counts as one of those productions that show how things should be done!

First and foremost, the audiences for this Christmas show have been growing year on year. Thanks to the new online-ticket purchasing system, which now gives a more precise figure, we can now say that last Saturday’s audience would have not fitted in 99% of the theatres in Gozo and Malta, and filled the remaining 1% almost to capacity! Really, people thronged in hundreds to watch what was pledged as a talent parade. A talent parade was promised, and a talent parade was delivered.

Hats off to the Leone Band
As the mistress in this business, the Leone Band showed it is still riding on the crest of the wave. The successes of a series of concerts (pop and otherwise) in all sorts of venues, occasions and circumstances are still producing their ripple effects. With quite some degree of ease and comfort, the Leone Band is putting up a brightly coloured repertoire for any occasion, not the least Christmas, and delivering it top-notch. Saturday’s performance was another hats-off for the Leone Band and it’s director Colin Attard. It included a number of seasonal medleys, the Maltese popular Sinfonia Pastorale as well as a Christmas story – a poem narrated by the young compere Clara Sciberras, to live musical interludes by the Leone Band.

New faces for the night
From her part, Clara Sciberras hosted the show with sweet charisma. Elegant in attire and charming in poise, she took the auditorium in her stride, artfully mastering her script bilingually with comfort and luxury.

The other artistes and numbers, on paper, had already promised quality in their arts. But put together on the Aurora stage they where a sight to see and a joy to listen to. The EnKor gospel choir and singers and the Voodoo Gurus brought some rhythm and beat, bringing hands together from the stalls, repeatedly. The soloists, on the other hand, awed the audiences. No one had any doubts on Nadine Axisa, Veronica Rotin and Gaia Cauchi as they had more than proved themselves on foreign stages and television screens, but witnessing their force of nature at first hand experiencing was something the audience really showed it was appreciating.

A cross-over to dance
Talent also did a cross-over from music to dance. Whatever is ‘Christmas’ and ‘children’ is bound to be cute, and most certainly, the introductory items by the Central Academy of Dance did not lack any of the loveliness one would have expected. Not children but equally graceful in their presentation and technique, the Senior Ballet Dancers from the Gozo School of Drama, brought to the stage two classical ballet items of high quality.

And as if the line-up was not diverse enough, we also had a delightful taste of the fiery Spanish Christmas with the contribution of the Alegria Academia de Baile Flamenco – the Maltese flamenco dance school, which, for another year running, is operating a Gozo branch from the Aurora Opera House. It was indeed a pleasure to see the Gozitan flamenco dancers, with, of course, the added benefit (and pride!) for the Aurora, to see these up-and-coming artistes flourishing with their relatively new art (for Gozo) from within our premises. Of equal satisfaction was the participation by young and not-so-young dancers of The Art Factory. Costumes, expression, mass movement, choreographies… all bearing the signature and trademark label of The Art Factory (closely associated with the Naupaca Dance Factory), built a climax towards the end of the show, which, augmented with some more fine gospel singing by the EnKor, and later by the Leone Band, brought the full cast together to welcome the surprise entrance of Father Christmas or Santa Claus.

A Christmas Cheer!
The Leone Grand Christmas Show was a feast of cheering. Everyone cheered as he joined in the repeated chorus of White Christmas. The audience cheered in merriment and exchanged its greetings. The artistes on stage cheered with elation and satisfaction. Even the Aurora theatre cheered! From its part, it cheered to the scores (if not hundreds) of volunteers who made this production, not only possible, but a wonder to be part of. Old faces, new faces, young and old, from all sorts of backgrounds, with different experiences, amazingly put together under the proficient and expert direction of Colin Attard and Terry Shaw confirmed one of the main aims behind the launch of the Christmas variety at the Aurora way back few years ago – to exchange greetings with our people with a hefty dose of good talent and fun!

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