My Family Is Strange
Jess McKenzie (and friends) @ SA Writers’ Centre
7:00pm, Sat 18 Mar 2006
Though I selected this performance in my initial 250-odd-show scan through the Fringe Guide, I was prepared to give it a miss; however, in the queue for La Clique, a young chap raved to me about Ms McKenzie; always one to honour a promise, I slotted the show in, and arrived in the Writers’ Centre to see a small and enthusiastic crowd.
Including some of Jess’ family. Which I thought was a bit odd, since the act was purportedly about them.
No matter. Jacob the Incredible opened up, trying to garner a few laughs from the unreceptive crowd with a few ballsy jokes. I admire his courage but, when you start ripping off Bill Hicks’ “Children” bit – word for word – you lose points real quick. Strangely enough, that bit got Jacob his biggest laughs. +1 courage, -2 IP theft. Sorry.
Jess herself did two small sets, and demonstrated great style – alternating the sweet with the sick, cute naive girl with weary cynical woman. Deft with delivery, and unafraid to delve into utterly gross humour, she’s got a metric truckload of talent, and just needs to mould her material with a little more care. Give her another Fringe or two, and she’ll be headlining – and pulling in huge crowds. I dunno what her grandmother in the audience would’ve thought of some of the familial descriptions, though ;)
The star of the night, though, was Dee Galipo. Singing some great original & covers, playing guitar, she even managed to manipulate the generally distant audience (ie, me – “The Guy With No Rhythm”). Yes, that’s right, I got conned into playing a little egg shaker as accompaniment for one of Dee’s clever and articulate comedic songs. Stunning voice, decent guitar, great presence… a real winner.
In short, this was a show that was high on potential and delivered just enough enjoyment to make it worthwhile. A few Fringes, a little more experience, level-headed editing, and we’re in for a blinder.