by Laura Ferguson
The hosts of the show are comedian/singers Julz Burgisser and Katie Boyle. They welcome this Thursday’s crowd with cheeky, enthusiastic smiles and playful banter. Burgisser and Boyle make us feel relaxed and I am already grinning at their lead-up into the first act with Katie asking, “What do you want to talk about, Julz?”; “Umm, I was thinking vibrators.” comes the reply to which Katie responds, “…You know my dad is in the audience, right?”, indicating her cross-armed father, who indeed does not look amused. Of course, this makes the bit all the more hilarious.
Into the first half of the night, and the opening number comes from Burgisser herself, Katy Perry’s “Firework” being transformed into a girl-power ballad about the use of a vibrator. The song is fun and flirty, and the openness of a topic usually so oppressed is a banging start to the show.
Burgisser’s song rouses the house and we are well-warmed up to hear the next performer, Emma Wollum. Wollum’s transcendentally beautiful voice floats throughout the room as she sings ‘Maria’ from West Side Story, now reconfigured as ‘Jacinda’. The song has this reviewer’s liberal heart filled with hope, a sympathetic hand laying on my chest at Wollum’s conspiracy theory about New Zealand’s first political assassination. RIP Paddles.
Comedian Ben Powdrell cleverly chooses a song he doesn’t even need to change the title of. Instead, he redirects Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ into a topical discussion about the reports of sexual perversion women tweeted out in the #metoo campaign following the Harvey Weinstein allegations. The song made me laugh heartily as Powdrell had thoughtfully put himself onside with women. He uses the song to point out unacceptable male behaviour with sincerity, using examples to make it ridiculous. The line, “What makes you think your dick is special?” made me laugh so hard my face was sore for the rest of the night.
My overworked facial muscles did not get any rest for the last act before the intermission as Frankie Vallis turned ‘Drops of Jupiter’ into dropping something a little stronger than Jupiter. Smoking an imaginary blunt at the beginning, with dilated wonder, she hilariously s-tokes the fires of her high-deas. Is the world just one consciousness? Is there a car hell? Whatever happened to the band Train? The barrage of absurd questions come to us from Vallis without answers and I don’t need them, her antsy, paranoid body language and facial expressions more than enough to have the entire room laughing.
After the intermission Boyle and Burgisser come back on stage to introduce the next performer, Alexander Sparrow. Katie gushing over how her boyfriend, Sparrow, is very special to her. But, uh oh! He’s late! While this is a genuine mishap, Boyle’s unimpressed face keeps the moment comedic and, sorry not sorry, I laugh merrily the turn of events. It is barely a minute before Sparrow comes rushing to the stage and all is well. He turns Shania Twain’s ‘Man, I Feel Like A Woman’ into a hilarious ‘Man, I Feel Like A Mormon’ and honestly, the melding of the two seems so perfect I wonder I’ve never thought of it before. Sparrow creates an entire story of his character and we see him be a bachelor, then a happy thrice-married bigamist, before releasing the strain of being the sole breadwinner in a household of many children from all three wives. The journey is lighthearted and fun, it’s a song that’s always a winner and Sparrow retains the entertaining high of the original.
Katie Boyle is next and gets her revenge of Sparrow’s tardiness by changing Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’ into a made-up (I assume, but who knows) play-by-play of the couple’s sex life. Katie Boyle’s voice is lovely and I adore the application of podcaster and love advisor Dan Savage’s adage of “GGG”, the idea that we should be Good, Giving and Game in our sexual relationships. As long as they don’t go a fetish too far. Boyle’s song epitomises this maxim and we get images of brie being used in a less edible fashion, a T-Rex suit perhaps trying to answer how dinosaurs had sex and allusions of pegging that make me laugh at every line. It is a work of genius.
Gin Sparrow now graces the stage with an amusing reworking of Rihanna’s ‘Love on the Brain’ into ‘Please Dry My Hands’. Her battle with a air dryer in a bathroom is a struggle we can all relate to and even when her gorgeous voice stumbles over the words, she picks back up and carries on. Sparrow makes such an everyday inconvenience come alive with amazing vocals and the repetitive nature of the lyrics only highlighting how no matter long you dry your hands for on those air-dryers, it never really does its job. Sparrow instils the song with a sweet impatience that has me empathising with her plight.
As we moved on to Greg Ellis, we are hit with an entirely new mode of delivery. Ellis is going to sing his song entirely improvisationally. He allows the audience to choose between number 1-4 indicating which backing track he will use and then gets a suggestion from us as to what subject he will sing about. The answer is: tractors. The music starts up and it is a reggae track that I unfortunately cannot claim familiarity with and, therefore, cannot credit. Ellis does a fine job of making his tractor song very funny. Making absurd choices that make me laugh. Somewhere along the line, the tractor has ended up in his living room and although it doesn’t make sense, I’m having too good a time to worry about logistics.
The penultimate singer is Jennifer O’Sullivan who cuts right to my 90’s nostalgic heart by reinventing the Amy Winehouse version of ‘Valerie’ into ‘Mallory’, the most unpopular babysitter from the Babysitter’s Club books by Ann M. Martin. Having grown up obsessed with those books, I absolutely loved this song and O’Sullivan’s use of the instrumental parts of the song to provide explanatory context to everyone else made the song entertaining to everyone.
Last, but most certainly not least, Brad Zimmerman has come out of comedy retirement to perform tonight! I saw Zimmerman’s Fringe comedy show earlier this year before his retirement and it was brilliant so I was very happy to see him back in action. Zimmerman, in classic style, makes 50 Cent’s ‘P. I. M. P’ a sidesplittingly self-deprecating song about his own comedy career. His chorus is incredibly catchy and has the audience shouting out “B. R. A. D.” in the place of the song’s title. Being able to shout out and be involved made me bounce along in happiness, laughing at Zimmerman’s fantastic callbacks and enthusiastically singing along in the chorus.
The rest of the performers join Brad on stage as the outro to the song plays and the audience claps their appreciation, whooping and hollering. I marvel again that I had never been to Sing It Wrong before and am not surprised to learn it was nominated as ‘Best Regular Show’ for the Wellies 2017 award show. Laughter and singing culminate into an oxytocin overload with Sing It Wrong and I’ll be looking forward to the next one while recommending it to others along the way.