Right before the show was about to begin, a woman sat down and offered me pieces of chocolate. Her face was painted, and her preposterously large yellow wig did little to disguise her role in this one-woman performance. As the greeter of this Fringe show made her shout-outs to various sponsors, the woman next to me hoisted out a number of distracting gadgets: a bottle of water, assorted knickknacks strewn on the chair, and, of course, the chocolate offered out to me and the rest of the bemused audience. I briefly wondered if she knew my role, and whether the act of offering a theatre reviewer chocolate before the show was tantamount to a bribe…
There was little time to contemplate this, however, for a voice over the speakers commanded her to stop fraternizing with the audience and get on with the show. And so it began—UnCouth, a bawdy clowning show performed by San Francisco’s own Windy Wynazz. She was there to dance, gyrate and put any number of strange things against her crotch—starting with a mop! In-between the disconnected skits and antics of Wynazz’s act is the skeleton of a story structure: a young wannabe starlet wrestling with inner demons (embodied by severed Barbie heads and mocking puppets), who bargains with the Devil for a bar of Hershey’s Chocolate and is propelled into the limelight. At least that’s what I think was going on, and it’s as good a guess as any.
Oddly, the strange Satanic goings-on in the show aren’t the real draw. Rather, it’s Windy herself, and her own radiant, fluctuating personality: presenting herself variably as a precocious adult-child, an underdog performer, a grumbling custodian, and a needy starlet looking for love in most of the wrong places. Beyond her practiced comedic timing and winsomely awkward stripteases, Wynazz proves herself a capable gymnast, ably balancing on high heels, contorting through small chairs—and at one point doing a handstand between the knees of a hapless audience volunteer!
By far the best laughs came from the audience participation. Wynazz goes impressively far with integrating the audience, and various outdoor street noises, into her act. In collaborating with her brave volunteers, the clown treats the audience to antics with comically large cups of tea, dueling Nerf guns, and at one point faking an orgasm with the help of a key-smashed miniature piano.
There’s plenty of freedom to be had in Windy’s performances, with her sequined undergarments and raucous antics—and it’s a freedom that is extended to the audience, who is encouraged to cheer, encourage and contribute to the clowning. Fringe-goers planning to see this show should make ready to join in on the madness of Windy’s act—and be themselves uncouth along with its performer.
PS: If there are any critiques for this reviewer to make, it’d be only in Windy’s choice of satanic chocolate. Selling your soul for a bar of Hershey’s? Ugh!
Reviewed at the 2015 Victoria Fringe Festival