Birds of a feather flock together, but when you're out on the pull, having a wingman is a must. But what if your seduction skills suck? What if your Mr Right turns out to be another Mr Right Now? And what if the way you swing suddenly makes you a swinging single? The answers to these headscratchers and more can be found in the comic-cabaret grin-fest that is The Desperettes' A Guide To Being A Wingman.
This triple threat of triple threats, Daisy (Belinda Hanne Reid), Delilah (Ashley Jarman) and DeeDee (Natasha York), lay on a relentlessly uplifting, toe-tapping, head-bopping joyride about how to "get the D". Looking like a Franken-fusion between the Pink Panther, The Blues Brothers and Marge Simpson, this big-haired, big-voiced, suited and booted trio offer a catalogue of lyrically tweaked pop favourites to chart their fortunes and failures on the hunt for love, lust and lasting romance. Plus, there's a motherload of chat-up lines that prove, if nothing else, what's possible when you have a healthy libido and a rhyming dictionary.
But far from being some pseudo-Sex And The City ripoff, this show makes some subversively incisive observations about gender stereotypes and the double standard that exists for single ladies. Sexually empowered women are branded sluts, whereas men are considered players; inexperienced women are written off as frigid, whereas men can keep their chastity under the radar with a few strategically dropped humble-brags about made-up conquests; women who wear their hearts on their sleeves are labelled bunny-boilers, men hold all the cards when it comes to commitment.
There are big ideas in play here, but this show doesn't try to wag a finger at its audience. These insightful nods to the dangers of the dating scene never overwhelm the feel-good factor, and the genuinely impressive calibre of the vocal performances paired with Reid, Jarman and York's irresistible charisma, makes this a consummately entertaining evening of comedy cabaret. The Desperettes' A Guide To Being A Wingman is a savvy, sassy, and sexually liberated celebration of female agency and sisterhood. Barring any legal injunctions from miserly record labels, it should be one of the sure-fire hits of this year's MICF program.
By Maxim Boom, The Music