Date/TimeApril 10, 2012 - 6:00pm
Price$15.00 See below for more info.
Jenny Wynter has come a long way since her stage debut in a grade-three performance of ‘Hansel and Gretel’ as the Wicked Witch. The one-woman singing/dancing/improv machine is back to charm Melbourne with her latest version of An Unexpected Variety Show. The show made its mark in Melbourne at the Fringe Festival last year, where it won the award for Excellence in Cabaret.
The Brisbane-based performer explores character and musical comedy in her show. Wynter says it has a “storytelling thread about the unexpected twists in life, from unplanned pregnancy to finding yourself in the mountains of Canada, to having your wedding ceremony interrupted by an elderly man wearing nothing but a pair of dicktogs.”
Wynter was set to make her debut at the MICF in 2010, but as irony would have it, an ‘unexpected’ incident changed her plans. “A few weeks before opening night, I was wiped out in a head-on collision,” she says. Wynter was forced to spend months in recovery in what she describes as a “very deep, dark and at times self-indulgent depression”.
Needless to say, this year’s MICF appearance has been anticipated, not just by Melbourne but by Wynter herself. “To finally be bringing the show back to MICF just feels all the [more] sweeter,” she says. “I'm almost tempted to coat my old neck brace in sequins and feathers and wear it as a little tribute to the phoenix-rising-from-the-ashes sense of jubilation at having finally made it here!”
After a string of sold-out shows at Adelaide’s Fringe Festival last month, Wynter is on the road again, with her family in tow. “I have three kids who tour with me,” she says. “We're a bit like the Partridge Family minus the bus, worldwide acclaim or money.”
Wynter has been juggling family commitments with comedy for almost seven years. “I only realised I could do [comedy] for a living when I started doing it for a living,” she says. “Up until that point it had just been a great outlet and an excuse to get out of the house.”
An Unexpected Variety Show was directed by Gary Austin (a mentor of Helen Hunt and founder the famous Groundlings Theatre in LA, where Will Ferrell, Lisa Kudrow, Paul Reubens, got their start). Wynter worked him with on the show last year in Los Angeles.
The show has a very personal nature that is very close to Wynter's heart. “I’ve found it opens strangers up to share their story with me,” she says. “I've been approached by people telling me their own very intimate ‘unexpected’ life twists, sometimes so personal that it's brought them – and me – to tears. That really blows me away … and shows me that it's worth it.”
Wynter’s daughter came and saw the show for the first time at Adelaide Fringe. “It was so emotional because she's a key part of the story,” she says. During the show, Wynter told the audience it was a special night because her daughter was there. “I asked her if she wanted to come up onstage” she says, “then in a scene not unlike umpteen American romantic comedies, she hopped up with me, and we embraced each other tearfully while the audience went wild. I really think that no matter what happens that moment will always be the pinnacle of my performing career.”
BY MEGAN HANSON
Jenny Wynter performs An Unexpected Variety Show at Butterfly Club, 204 Bank St, Sth Melbourne from Tuesday April 10 until Sunday April 22 (except Mondays). Tickets $27/$24, $23 for groups of eight or more, and $15 for Tightarse Tuesdays from 9690 2000, thebutterflyclub.com and at the door.
Comedy Festival website