Rhonda Burchmore A Red Hot Swingin’ Christmas @ The Regal Theatre, Kensington Park SA 18/11/2022

Rhonda Burchmore promised us The Jack Earle Big Band, gorgeous gowns, lots of fun and a special appearance of those famous legs and she didn’t disappoint! Markus Hamence Presents brought to The Regal Theatre, Burchmore and Jack Earle’s A Red, Hot Swingin’ Christmas with a mix of Christmas favourites and some unknown tunes thrown for good measure. The band started off with Santa’s Coming To Town getting the audience warmed up for the grand entrance of the undisputed queen of Australian Christmas. Burchmore walked on stage singing a toe tapping jazzy version of We Need a Little Christmas dressed in her first stunning costume for the night, a slender heart shaped strapless red dress that sparkled with each sway of the hips. Tonight’s show was the launch of their new album, A Red, Hot Swingin’ Christmas. While we all know her from Carols by Candlelight, Carols in the Domain and the Lord Mayor’s Christmas Carols but can you believe it’s her very first Christmas album? 

It was night of Christmas fun with cheeky banter between Earle and Burchmore along with old songs that were given new life. Earle revived Louis Armstrong’s 1953 hit Cool Yule with Rob Chenoweth jazzing it up with a fantastic trumpet solo. Whether it was Chenoweth on trumpet, Gareth Davis on trombone or Vashti Tyrell on saxophone, the Horn Section in this band were certainly red hot and swinging and Patrick Schmidli on bass and Kieran Rafferty rounded off the fantastic six-piece band.

In between songs Burchmore told us little stories about Christmas or special moments in her life like the birth of her daughter Lexi who she dedicated a broody medley of Wish Upon a Star and Somewhere Over The Rainbow to her only child. For those that remember the English rock band Slade then you will know their crazy Christmas song Merry Christmas Everybody and if anyone could make it sound cool its Jack Earle! While the weather in Adelaide was pretty cold it wasn’t so bad that it snowed but it was lovely weather for songs Sleigh Ride and Frosty the Snowman during which Burchmore went off stage for her first of many costume changes for the night. Coming back on stage in a white snowy-looking glittery dress with a sexy thigh high slit, she sang It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, a sultry sexy Let It Snow and a swinging upbeat version of Kay Starr’s The Man With The Bag before the half time interval.

The Second Act was back with a Christmas bang including a new costume, this time a red thin strapped glittery sequenced dress with another long thigh high slit which Burchmore just oozed of gorgeous! So, it was fitting for her to sing a swingin jazzy It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas before slowing it down to sing her late parents favourite hit Nat King Cole’s The Christmas Song (“Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”) and the Dean Martin hit The Christmas Blues. Earle explained he wanted to give that song the New Orleans funeral march kind of vibe and he sure did!

While Burchmore went for another costume change the band played Merry Christmas Baby and each band member got to play some solos. The second act was where all the mischievous fun really come out to play. Wearing a short Santa outfit, the moment had arrived where the famous legs made an appearance perfect for the song Santa Baby! As well as duetting with Earle who also stepped out from behind the piano for a trumpet solo on the cute Baby Its Cold Outside then Burchmore wearing a long fluffy white snowy looking jacket sang a very cheeky Muff song. I will let your imagination run wild on what the lyrics were on that one!

The night ended with the songs What Are You Doing New Year’s EveSanta Claus is Coming to Town and for encore Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Rhonda Burchmore is the complete all-round entertainer, she sings, she dances, and she knows how to work the stage giving the audience a night they won’t forget. Put her together with Jack Earle and his reimagined arrangements of an eclectic list of Christmas songs, you get the ultimate swinging package. It really was A Red Hot Swingin’ Christmas!

Live Review By Anastasia Lambis

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