Jenny Wynter’s Wonderland!
Featuring Betty & The Betties
RIP IT UP
Surprise, surprise! There is culture from Caboolture and we’re launched into the most amusing aspects of it in Jenny Wynter’s first number, unpacking a visit to Centrelink. Throughout the show Betty & The Betties are great accompaniment, both for harmonies and their stage antics, and the duo/band really hits the mark.Highlights were many; some great parody songs from the likes of Billy Joel and, yes, seriously Down Under in German! Taking the cake is Jenny’s improv skills, getting audience members on stage, finding out some of their personal details and improvising a song featuring them with some surprisingly good rhymes and lines; very impressive and highly entertaining. When a performer takes great enjoyment in delighting their audience, you know the show is going to be good. Jenny Wynter’s Wonderland! performs at Holden Street Theatres – The Arch until Sat Mar 2.
Reviewed by Chelsey Gardner
"...a brilliant fusion of musical talent, improvised comedy and storytelling."
"Wynter is a smart and well-versed performer with a likeability that can’t be taught."
Returning once more to the Adelaide Fringe, Queensland-born, Canadian-trained, award-winning Jenny Wynter brings us a show skewed to her strengths of improvisation, high-energy and interactive comedy.
Through a giant gumball machine, from where she makes quite the entrance, and backed by a distinctly gameshow-esque staging, Wynter takes the audience on a magical journey to find, and reclaim, the wonderful things in life.
With a mix of some heavy duty audience participation (you’ve been warned), catchy, if quite familiar, songs and bubbles (yes, actually they give you bubbles to blow!) Jenny Wynter’s Wonderland makes for a brilliant fusion of musical talent, improvised comedy and storytelling.
Flanked by her delightful acapella house band, Betty and the Betties, Wynter injects hilarity into her songs about magical places, like Centrelink, and wonderful things like accents (cue one of best song of the show!) while granting the audience an insight into her life and the lives of other audience members with her ’songs by suggestion’.
The marriage of Wynter’s lyrics with the richness of the Betties’ vocals makes things entertaining and, well, wonderful. The Betties, who pop their Adelaide Fringe cherry this year, provide the 1950s glamour, cheek and some awesome covers, including a certain 2012 number one on Triple J’s Hottest 100 and some killer ballads from ’80s. Those musically-inclined patrons won’t be disappointed with their dazzling harmonies and sweet style, even when backing up some improvised tunes.
The show does provide an element of cross-promotion, with Wynter inviting guest performers from the Adelaide Fringe to steal her audience for a short while. It’s a sweet gesture and one that emphasises the attitude of artistic solidarity that some other acts lack. Plus you get to check out another show – what better way to prioritise your must-see list!
The Arch, the show’s 2013 home, at Adelaide’s time-honoured Holden Street Theatres remains a favourite venue for thinking Adelaide Fringe supporters. The Arch’s intimate and elegant theatre setup plays brilliantly into Wynter’s act and forces audiences to explore beyond Gluttony and the Garden of Unearthly Delights.
Without doubt Wynter’s obvious buoyancy and genuineness makes the show. As regular patrons of the Adelaide Fringe might know, there is always a danger looming in improvisation. Punch lines can go awry, audiences can be difficult or, worse still, silent but Wynter’s lack of pretension and real warmth seems to be the perfect relaxant and even minor hiccups draw laughs.
Underneath the absurdity of her performance, it is apparent that Wynter is a smart and well-versed performer with a likeability that can’t be taught.
Jenny Wynter’s Wonderland is refreshing, fun and filled to the brim with witty lyrics and unashamed silliness.
Jenny Wynter is, quite simply, wonderful.
Jenny Wynter's Wonderland! Featuring Betty and the Betties
ANYONE who can get the crowd singing along to a song about Centrelink scant minutes into the show is off to a good start.
Wynter is a brash, confident performer with a strong voice backed by the beautiful and harmonious Betties on vocals and a funky two-piece band.
Despite hailing from the cultural wasteland that is Caboolture she has a great grasp of popular culture and knows what will get a crowd involved, and doesn't do a half bad rap either.
Guest spots give a bit of variety to what is, after all, a variety show but the main show is more than enough to keep you laughing and singing along.