Rufus, Martha and Lucy Wainwright Present: A Not So Silent Night “Virtually Together”
The pandemic wrote off Rufus Wainwright’s 2020 tour in support of his Grammy-nominated album Unfollow the Rules and, also, the traditional December live get-together of his musical family. Thankfully, within the American-Canadian singer’s A Rufus-Retro-Wainwright-Spective series, he – along with sister Martha and half-sibling Lucy Wainwright-Roche – uses the marvels of video-streaming to kindly offer much-needed Christmas cheer.
Rufus performs live (individually and with his husband, daughter and young second cousins) from his home in Los Angeles. Martha hosts a larger, pre-recorded family gathering from Montreal, which includes her sons and Aunt Anne McGarrigle. Lucy is also pre-filmed, but she still plays with her Roche relations via a video-link up. The various forms of the show are vivid reminders of how wide-reaching isolation measures are.
The mixture of live and previously captured footage allows for seamless transitions to Montreal and New York. Additionally, the stream appropriately includes VTs that remind viewers of the Kate McGarrigle fund (which the production is in aid of). Martha is also able to deliver a heartfelt, touching eulogy to the siblings’ aunt, Teddy Wainwright, who passed away in September and used to produce the seasonal shows.
Fittingly for a yuletide performance, the act is bedecked with euphonious choral-sung traditional English and French Christmas songs throughout (like God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and Entre le boeuf et l’âne gris). Famous festive-themed pop tunes like Elvis Presley’s Blue Christmas and Wham’s Last Christmas (duetted by Rufus and his daughter, Viva) are also included to brighten the bleak winter doldrums compounded by Covid. Further cheer is provided by their father, Loudon Wainwright III, donning a Christmas jumper for an acoustic-jazz version of I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus and a blithe, frivolous pre-edited Wainwright-McGarrigle-Roche take on The Twelve Days of Christmas.
The most memorable moments, though, come when the principal members of the t family showcase their voices with solo performances. In his powerhouse version of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Rufus gives viewers goosebumps as the song reaches its towering crescendo. Sloan Wainwright similarly astounds spectators with her stunning rendition of Queen’s Thank God It’s Christmas. Likewise, Martha’s voice tugs on the audience’s heartstrings with her gorgeously gratifying presentation of Kate McGarrigle’s Proserpina to fittingly end the stream.
If this were performed live, there wouldn’t have been a dry eye in the house; and not one soul without gratitude and awe of how far-reaching the musical gifts of the extended Wainwright family are.
For further information and future events visit the performance’s website here.
Watch the trailer for the performance here: