I saw this show a few years ago in the cabaret room at The Store Room. It was packed and the audience was lapping up Queenie Van de Zandt’s new age music therapist character, Jan Van De Stool. We were the students in her introductory course and she had us doing interpretive hand dancing, singing an air/water/fire/wind symphony and figuring out what kind of dong our personal bell had. In this current comedy festival incarnation, the show is in a much bigger circus tent that lacks the intimacy needed for such audience interaction. Still, Van de Zandt had the small but enthusiastic crowd whole-heartedly participating in her exercises and she made the best of the unsympathetic environs.
Van De Stool is a catty, competitive, never-hit-the-big-note singer turned snake-oiled music therapist. She is Dutch and prone to making mistakes with the English language, as Helen, her penis, (oops, I think she means pianist) would agree. She is full of theories on musical massage, opening the throat to open on the heart and womb and self-help exercises to free the soul. My personal favorite is her definition of a song as an “individual harmonic narrative,” of which everyone has their own. In fact, Van De Stool introduces us to four of her graduating students (all played by Van De Zandt) who each give us their own “IHN” as Van De Stool humiliates and insults all of them.
Van de Zandt does a great character, encompassing Van De Stool’s nasty side as well as her ability to talk up her therapy products (she hypnotizes the audience to want to buy her courses, as well as coffee mugs, CDs, DVDs and barbeque aprons). She is a versatile performer, singing out of key as Van De Stool, but then sharing her beautiful voice when performing as some of her students. With David Young hidden behind the piano as Helen, I Get The Music in You is an enjoyable comedic hour and much more evolved than the comedy festival’s average stand up fare.
Even though the show did not leave me, personally, with the intense buzz that I had seeing it first time, I still think audiences, on the whole, will find Van De Zandt quite hilarious. Just be ready to work your vocal chords and don’t worry… audience participation does not extend as far as the stage!
Ensemble Productions presents
I GET THE MUSIC IN YOU:
an evening with JAN VAN DE STOOL
By Queenie van de Zandt and Tony Taylor
Venue: Umbrella Revolution, Federation Square
Dates: 5th – 29th April (not Mondays), Previews 5th –8th April
Times: 8.15pm Tues – Sat / 7.15pm Sun
Tickets: $25.00 full/$22.00 conc/$21.00 Grp/$20.00 Prev & Tightarse Tues/$19.00 Laughpack
Bookings: Ticketmaster / At the door