10
Nov
12

The Unexpected Variety Show

An Unexpected Variety Show Jenny Wynter

The Unexpected Variety Show

Brisbane Cabaret Festival

Judith Wright Centre

7th November 2012

 

Reviewed by Stephen Moore

 

Well, if nothing else, the night is aptly titled!

 

Seated at a table for four (me, my guest and two strangers), sipping on a mind-altering beverage and enjoying the ambience as the audience gathered expectantly, it was a case of ‘what the…’ when the performance started!

 

Let me explain.

 

The promotional material states ‘…The Unexpected Variety Show sees musical comedienne, Jenny Wynter, meld stand-up, storytelling, song, improv and character comedy into a unique show about the unexpected twists in life…’, so to be confronted by five women dressed alike singing boogie-woogie was confusing.  It was a case of ‘what are the Andrew’s Sisters…plus two…doing in this show?’

 

Firstly, I have to say the singing was excellent.  Hats off, ladies, for bravely going acappella.  And adding a swing element.  Especially with such varied material (ah…so that’s where the title comes from? Unexpected. Variety.), ranging from wartime swing favourite Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree to modern classic Somebody That I Used to Know.  Yes, that’s right, the Goyte hit!  Sung in tight harmony and vocal percussion with a touch of swing – amazing.  Also cute were the matching costumes, reminiscent of 1940s army uniforms, as if designed by Chanel.

 

Betty and the Betties

 

Betty (Elysia Humphries), Betty (Simone Kelaart), Betty (Angeline Wynter), Betty (Kate Mackie), and Betty (Jenny Wynter) make up Betty and the Betties (although I had to go to their website via Jenny Wynter’s website to know that because there was no information at the venue.  I can’t acknowledge any technical achievement for the same reason.  I ❤ programmes!). Look out for these girls, and Jenny Wynter’s Wonderland, at Woodford Folk Festival!

 

An interesting and wide-ranging choice of songs take up the first 30 minutes of the program; however, the story, the banter and the patter between songs needs a lot more work.  And it wasn’t just me – the other three at the table felt the same and the less than enthusiastic response from the rest of the audience confirmed that it didn’t grab the attention (especially compared to the response to the second half – the real An Unexpected Variety Show).

 

Now.  What can I say about Ms Jenny Wynter that hasn’t been said already; and what can I say about An Unexpected Variety Show that hasn’t been said already?

 

It was as good as the review excerpts suggested!  It really did live up to the promo material…and yes, there is photographic evidence of the budgie-smuggling wedding-crasher!

 

This was cabaret with a strong message, a poignant and funny storyline, identifiable characters, and good music well sung.  We can all learn from this cabaret – about how life gets in the way of living, about the unexpected changes to our plans and hopes and dreams, which occur in an instant…and that sometimes it all still works out.  So seize those moments, embrace the changes, and keep looking forward. That’s what Jenny said to me.

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