Transported on a musical journey to Paris

Trio: Christopher McKenna, William Schmidt and Morwell soprano singer Alison Jones. Photograph: Katrina Brandon



IN 2019, I travelled to the ‘City of Love’, Paris and today, I arrived back on the streets where passion for the city was everywhere.

At GPAC on October 10, ‘I Love Paris’ was on, featuring Christopher McKenna (company producer and narrator), William Schmidt (composer and pianist) and Morwell’s very own Alison Jones.

Both in the work McKenna, Schmidt and Ms Jones presented and the city, Paris was there with lots of pride and joy to be seen.

Many people attended, even though it was a school day and midday.

The show is aimed at those who either love Paris or grew up with their grandparents or parents listening to the French classics that either broke your heart or made you feel like you were somewhere else. Schmidt’s performance was nothing but perfect, with flawless transitions and spectacular piano playing, even flowing through the piece when the slide show projection of Paris went down.

During the performance, there were a few hiccups with the projector, but all three musicians adapted to the accidents well. McKenna added “Wait a second,” for the first one.

For those looking for audience engagement, this show would have been for you. In multiple stages of the performance, we (the audience) were asked to either share our excitement or to help sing along.

During classic Frere Jacques, the audience was first asked to sing along together, second time around was split into a round and for poor but very talented Schmidt, three times faster. Some of the audience wasn’t quite ready for joining in the show, but McKenna shared that it was alright and that this crowd was far better than crowd singers in Queensland.

With few comedic openings, McKenna expressed at the start of each new artist their musical background and their musical anecdotes such as in one show “horses walking across the stage making a mess, not going one place, not there but everywhere!”

This was massively entertaining for the current audience. Not to mention McKenna’s own anecdote of his own connection to the French production where he sat in the back of the car on road trips listening to French classics with his siblings.

Unlike most performances, the stage never changed, but rather the performers used what they had to keep the audience engaged. Splitting the stage into three, there was the podium, piano area and a French cafĂ© set with red roses and cocktails prompting a romantic looking setting keeping the topic ‘City of Love.’

Other than her amazing outfits of the day, Alison Jones put on a spectacular performance with fluent French while not missing a second, even while singing Minute Waltz, where a supposed bet was made on how fast she could sing the song. Even though she lost the bet on how long, she more than kept the audience on the edge of their seats and holding their breaths on whether she was going to miss a bit or not go fast enough. Furthermore, her talent proved itself twice over during the show.

Overall the show was quite visual, making the audience feel far away from their homes and on a romantic holiday with Moulin Rouge, other French classics and a calm atmosphere.

With most favourites going back to Moulin Rouge’s Can Can, to the Express’s being the duet between McKenna and Ms Jones, Somewhere Beyond the Sea’, this was a show to see.

Applaud: I Love Paris was shown in Traralgon recently, attracting good reviews.
Loud: Alison Jones and Christopher McKenna sing ‘Somewhere Beyond the Sea’.