Fringe Review: The Sweet and Sour Hour of Power

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By Jessica Justin

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Jennifer Wong is an accomplished writer, comedian and public speaker. A self-confessed “words person”, and a food enthusiast who is no fan of the gym, her latest stand-up show, The Sweet and Sour Hour of Power, takes us on her wellness and fitness journey as she manages her depression.

Wong has lived with depression for the past 20 years, and, as anyone with lived experience of mental ill-health knows all too well, the question, “Have you tried yoga?”, does get asked from time to time.

From the moment she takes to the stage in the intimate Prompt Creative Centre, Wong’s larger than life personality, warmth and humour have us in stitches. Using clever word-play, (she’s a words person after all), she laments that ‘running’ viciously from her past or ‘bearing the weight’ of her parent’s expectations unfortunately doesn’t count under the minimum physical activity and exercise guidelines.

After being hospitalised in 2018 for her depression, Wong, in her quest for vitality, road tests a range of exercises and wellness fads, “so that you don’t have to”, all with hilarious results.

This is a one-woman show, and with nothing more than a bare stage and a microphone, Wong’s wit, intelligence and humorous observations have us entertained. While a little slow in places, she brings us along for the ride, encouraging audience participation and even incorporates some enthusiastic audience members into the show.

While the focus of the show is very much on the funny side of her fitness journey, there are poignant moments where she makes observations about living with depression. She is vulnerable, she is brave and she is totally relatable.

At the end of the show, when the house lights come back on, I leave the Prompt Creative Centre feeling positive and upbeat. For those of us who have walked, or are walking with the ‘black dog’, Wong’s performance really resonates. Her performance gives an insight, and an entertaining one at that, on living with and managing mental illness. And, if you are in doubt, perhaps think twice about asking a friend or a loved-one if they’ve ever tried yoga….

4.5 Stars

To book tickets to this show, go here.

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