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  • Writer's pictureJenny Wynter

Melbourne Fringe: Touring with a Toddler Installment 9: An Unexpected Happy Ending

Tonight was my second last show and the evening of the Melbourne Fringe Festival Awards. I was delighted to walk out to an audience of around 40 (HUZZAH!!! Ten times my smallest crowd of the fest!), had a beautiful show indeed and then was umming and aahing about whether to get my butt over to North Melbourne for the awards night. I’d been told all the nominees had been notified so they would know to turn up; I’d heard nothing, but still wanted to check it out, but wasn’t terribly keen on going solo. 10.30 rocked around, then 10.35, then 10.40 and I finally opted to call it a night and catch a train home.

I was quite literally on my way out the Revolt door, when Ryan, Artistic Director l’extraordinaire, grabbed me on the way past and said “Hey, I’m going to the awards, you wanna come?”

A brief pause.


In we hopped, over we trudged, in we went.

Our view from the rear.

Hundreds of peeps were packed in ready for the awards to start. They started, I caught up with a couple of other friends, the equally fabulous Tess Waters and Kai Smythe (both incredibly talented comedic performers), when all of a sudden my ears pricked up: “The award for Excellence in Cabaret goes to THE UNEXPECTED VARIETY HOUR.” (Note: for a split second I wonder if there’s another show NEARLY called the same as mine, The Unexpected Variety Show, but then calculate the odds of that being quite slight.)


What follows is a dream. A happy dream, but a dream nonetheless.

I believe I shout “What? What? What?” stare disbelievingly at Tess, then start to make my way through the crowd, parting the crowd like an ineffective Moses, then finally shout “I’M COMING, I’M COMING!” as I near the front, drop my handbag at the bottom of the stairs, spring up onto the stage and just wave blindly at the entire crowd in disbelief.

I am guided off to the backstage area where I am directed for photos and then into the award winners’ room where I am promptly handed a champagne which does nothing to suppress my endless giggles of disbelief.

I am thrilled, shocked and terrified I am going to wake up.

I call my hubby, who, as it is past his bedtime, needs multiple phone calls to bring him to consciousness. I have never loved him more. This past fortnight has seen me come to breaking point multiple times, not the least reason of which is from the financial pressure of performing night after night to a handful of paying folks. Yet not ONCE has he ever even seemed concerned about this, rather just reminding me to believe in the show. Tim, my rockstar hubbster, you really do rock multiple casbahs.

The next it of JAWSOME hits when Revolt Melbourne wins Best Venue. AGGGGGGGHHHHH! Could this night get any freaking better?

Why, yes it could. Fellow Revolt artist Mercedes Benz (of “Awkwardly”) wins the Audience Choice Award!

View from onstage!

I float off into the breeze, or moreover, back to Revolt for hanging, celebration and general awesome post-awards buzziness, followed by a wonderful night-cap with my beyond-fabulous house-host, John, who helps me wind down from my adrenalin high by presenting me with this vision of wonder:

I could gush for hours about what this award means, but I shall try to be succinct. For me, this means that the show and the efforts that have gone into bringing it down here, have been worth it. Because, and I’m being completely honest with you here, there have been so many moments during this trip when I have questioned whether it is. Worth it, I mean. I started this blog series titled “Touring with a Toddler” because I thought it was kinda cute, but the whole truth is that “Touring With a Toddler” has at times, been anything BUT cute. I expected it to be tough. But it was tougher. Anyhoo, not saying that to be a martyr, but rather just to point out that tonight, to get such tremendous recognition for the show (plus the accompanying invite to perform at Melbourne Cabaret Festival in 2012…agggggh!)  is so incredibly wonderful and so, so, so, so, so appreciated! It makes me realise that it has been worth every tantrum and tear along the way (both toddler and adult.) I am so ridiculously grateful!

P.S. If you are in Melbourne, there is one more chance to see the show: Sunday 4.30pm and it is not only the final show here, but it is being filmed! I would dearly love to see you there (in fact, I do hope to get lots of folks there so I don’t have to insert a laugh track on the final edit). You can buy tix here!

P.P.S. I really must thank the fantastic folks at Allan’s Music/Billy Hyde for coming to my rescue in such a massive way when the keyboard I had planned to use didn’t work out. Allan’s stepped right up to help out an artist in need by donating the use of a keyboard and I am so, so thankful. Without you guys, the show wouldn’t have gone on. Or I would have been forced to let it go on with a key-tar. Thank you!

P.P.P.S. Thank you so much for every kind word that has been said to me during this whole thing. It really has meant so much, you darling people have been putting fuel in my emotional tank when I’ve been running empty. Love, love, love.


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