It wouldn’t be an Aussie Christmas without cicadas, sunburn, cricket and the special annual Christmas show by the Kransky Sisters. This year, A Cracker Kransky Christmas promises to surpass every Christmas spectacular that has gone before – by the Kranskys or anyone else.
Mourne, Eve, and Dawn Kransky are a performing musical trio consisting of two and a half sisters (Dawn being a sister from another mister, literally). Their talent is extraordinary, each being proficient on several instruments, and their vocal acuity is exquisite.
“Well I play the keyboard, and the guitar, and I play the rice-shaker, kitchen pot, and tambourine,” says Mourne, the eldest of the sisters and unchallenged leader of the group. She nominates the kitchen pot as her favourite instrument. “It’s an old aluminium pot that belonged to our father. He used to work for the Asbestos Cookware Company. He was a travelling salesman for them.”
The family did not have a lot of money and in any event, it was difficult to find a music teacher who taught kitchenware, so the sisters, that is, Mourne and Eve, are self-taught; Dawn had a different father who was willing and able to pay for tuba lessons.
The forming of the sister act came about organically.
“You see, we used to just play in our lounge-room by the fireplace, so we grew up playing the music together, because Eve was gifted our father’s saw. He used to make cabinets but he got a bit over that, so he gave Eve the saw and a violin bow because our mother didn’t like him playing “Flight of the Bumble Bee” every morning, so he gave it to Eve, and Eve and I would play and practice the music together. And then when Dawn got her education on the tuba, she wanted to join us as well, and so we let her play with us as she sounded very good.”
There was never any intention to perform publicly. It was by chance that one night, the man who owned the local RSL was walking his Rottweiler past the house and heard the sisters practising. He suggested they play at the RSL. They did. It was a success and from there they started touring the countryside and beyond.
By another stroke of luck, they were performing in Brisbane when an influential lady heard them and said they should play at the Melbourne Comedy Festival.
“And we looked at each other and thought: “A comedy festival? That’s interesting.” And we discovered after we started playing at the comedy festival, sometimes, when you don’t mean to be funny people laugh.”
It was then that The Kransky Sisters had arrived. They had gigs all over the nation and even overseas. They were, of course, thrilled, though success brought its challenges.
“It takes a long time getting the Morris on the boat, but we do get there eventually.”
Mourne is referring to the 1958 Morris Major Elite in which the trio travel to all their gigs. It was given to them by their father and is in mint condition — red and shiny as a ripe tomato with tasteful cream-coloured fins and a sensible sun visor.
The Christmas show at Riverside Theatres promises to be a treat, with a mix of modern songs the sisters learned from listening to the wireless, and classic Christmas tunes. It’s a veritable box of bonbons, from Glen Campbell to Britney Spears, AC/DC to Santa.
The Kranskys will also be following their tradition of bringing an item from home and sharing a story about it.
“We pick some items from home that we like to honour, that’s been important in our lives, and we bring them along to the stage and show them and share them,” explains Mourne. “Also, of course, we’re going to be telling stories about the latest things that have been going on in our lives with the audience, and generally having a good party with them.”
If you’ve never heard a Kransky Sister story — or song, for that matter — then you’d best get on the telephone and book your seats now.