Cringe binge cheer

The Wynter of Our Disco Tent (Funny Mummies)

Brisbane Powerhouse, The Studio

April 29 – May 1

As Box Jelly Theatre Company’s “All Fired Up” recently reminded us, there is a powerful nostalgia that comes with any trip back to the ‘80s era of big hair, over-the-top fashion and iconic music. “The Wynter of Our Disco Tent”, appearing as part of the Brisbane Comedy Festival, continues in this tradition, with a trip back in time from the personal perspective of Jenny and Angeline Wynter.

Sisters by birth, but BFFs by choice, the duo is doing it for themselves in this energetic ‘80s inspired musical comedy romp. Preshow songs of the Martika and Tiffany type set the scene for the many children of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s in the audience. It’s a wash of hypercolour as the sisters take the stage in the ‘80’s glamour of retro neon tracksuits and high hair. After a slowish start during which the show’s concept, origins and through-line are established, we are taken back to two young girls with a passion for ‘80s pop music and big dreams of becoming pop stars, spending hours perfecting dance routines and pretending to be singers.

The all-too identifiable reality of growing up in fair, but far-from-awesome Toowoomba is shaped through share of diary entries which capture teenage hyperbole of love luv, hate and the unfairness of life, but also serve as reminder of times of 100% Hits tapes, radio requests and desire for ear-piercing. Original retro-flavoured tunes accompany the desperate dreams of Jenny’s teenage self as she becomes guilty as a girl can be of love in the first degree. The songs, inspired by real-life teenage diary entries and true tales of adolescent heartbreak are clever enough, but it’s their familiar tunes that most enliven the audience. There is a lot going on, with, also, a game-show within the show and the energy rarely wanes as the duo bounce us through the show’s physical shenanigans. And while it might be a bit rough around the edges, the buoyant crowd just can’t get enough, of the “Beverly Hills 90210” and Scott and Charlene re-enactments et al.

As a binge on ‘80s cringe, “The Wynter of Our Disco Tent” is far from subtle, perfect for anybody who similarly wanted to marry Luke Perry. There is, however, also some layering beyond the obvious, cheery froth and bubble veneer of its concept. Through the retrospective lens of now 40-year-old experience, pop culture movie lessons morph into tongue-in-cheek relationship tips and an overall theme of empowerment is captured in its message about making your own disco balls. As Jenny and Angie remind us, big dreams last forever and sometimes you just have to create your own “Dirty Dancing” moments, because like Kylie said, it’s never too late.

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