From Standing Ovations To Stomach Viruses: An Unexpected Variety Show

Me and my siblings. Can you see the resemblance?

This weekend was personally epic on several levels.

1. It was my hubby’s and my 10th wedding anniversary.

The hubbster and I at the Powerhouse.

2. We celebrated in a last-minute hotel splurge in the city, to coincide with…

3. Closing night of my brief but delish run of “An Unexpected Variety Show” at Brisbane Powerhouse…

I do believe the first person I saw perform in this theatre was Tim Minchin, now that I think of it! Cool.
Hamming it up in the dressing room pre-show. I love having a greenroom. Even in the absence of M&Ms, champagne and Oompah Loompas, it makes me feel special.

…a show which was:

– nicely packed!

– interpreted by the INCREDIBLE Ruth Sullivan (who I adore more and more each time we work together…so much excitement is happening with this partnership, I can’t wait to spill more news soon once things get locked in!)

– attended for the very first time by my gorgeous siblings, Ang and James.

Post-show catch up with two of my favourite people on earth.
Moi, James and Angeline. LURVE.

Neither had seen the show before (you might have gotten that from the “first time” reference, however it was so significant to me having them there that I am intent on driving the point home!) “Unexpected” has a very key thread in it about my mother, OUR mother, who very sadly passed away in 1984 – James was 10, I was 5 and Ang was 2. To share her part of the story with any audience is emotional at the best of times – sometimes excruciatingly so – but to perform it last night knowing that her other two children were right there with me in the room was just…something else. I can’t even do justice to what that meant, I will simply say that it really transformed the show for me as I performed it. So incredibly special.

I felt by far the most free onstage EVER last night – pre-show as I peeked through the curtains and saw the theatre nearly full of buzzing, chatty people, I did such a happy joy dance! And I honestly think it was THE BEST performance I’ve ever done of the show; despite the projector not working at the end (bugger! But them’s the breaks…) it was just so much fun. And what a crowd…so giving, so into it, and even willing to give a girl a standing ovation. Love.

I will treasure last night’s memory for as long as I have my basic functions.

The other transformational element in the show right now is of course, having it interpreted by Ruth. Oh my word. A friend emailed me this morning – a friend, I might add, who has seen the show I believe four times now? – and told me that “the combination of the signing and your Mum’s song was magical – one of the more fascinating and touching movements of theatre I have seen on any stage.”

Oh, it moved me too!

After the show we had some fantastic times catching up with friends and family, then hubby and I hit our hotel room and lived out our rockstar fantasies: otherwise known as making 2.30am room service calls. I swear, paying $14 for a slice of pavlova sure makes it taste amazeballs.

Our utopian vision was disrupted around 7am by an early check-out call: our little boys had been sadly struck through the night by a nasty stomach bug, thus we bid adieu to our rockstar reality, dashed back home and spent the remainder of the day cleaning up bodily fluids.

Which, ten years of married life and a heck of a lot of water under the bridge later, seems strangely poetic. 😉


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  1. Franipantz
    April 1, 2012

    Ahhh dear Jen, I’ve just my makeup on for work and I’m crying tears of laughter messing it all up again, not that I really give a crap. That last bit was hilarious!! Congratulations! I’m glad it all went well and you had your sibs there to see it as well. I’m certainly staying tuned to the next exciting episode of “What Jen did next” 🙂 Hope the boys are better again! Lots of love from Cheerleader Frannie. XOXOXOX

    • April 4, 2012

      Thanks darling Frannie! Well since I wrote that we’ve all been struck down, hence the belated reply! I am happy to hear that our house full of fluids was at least amusing to someone. 😉 Big love xoxoox

  2. Hannah
    April 1, 2012

    You totally deserved that standing O: amazing show, completely unique, utterly hilarious and incredibly vulnerable and moving. I’m only sorry I wasnt looking at the sign interpretor when you talked about your husband saying “now come here so I can ravage you”!
    I had sore cheeks by the end. That says it all.
    Good luck with the next stage and hope the kids are better – talk about back down to earth with a bump!

    • April 4, 2012

      Hi Hannah, thanks so very much, I am chuffed that you came and tracked me down here! And I know, I soooooo want to just film Ruth’s interpretation so I can actually watch her in action for the whole thing!! xx

  3. Julie Judd
    April 1, 2012

    Really loved your show, Ruth did a great job as the interpreter, now I am searching for information about when you are in Melbourne so I can promote the show!

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