International stage, screen and television legends known for superb character acting include Carol Burnett, Tracey Ullman, and the late Madeline Kahn. Each brought screwball energy, boundless enthusiasm, and vast theatrical range to their work. Now a fresh, fun and unique local rising talent must be introduced into the mix.
For ardent followers and fans of Melbourne’s community theatre scene the name, Jaclyn DeVincentis, should be a familiar one.
A ten – year veteran of the amateur circuit, the 26 year old has a long and impressive list of credits to her name. Previous parts include Mary Flynn (in Merrily We Roll Along for OPTC), Dolly Levi (in Hello Dolly for ARC Theatre), Lucille Frank (in Parade for Waterdale) and Miss Adelaide (in Guys and Dolls for MDMS).
DeVincentis also played Cindy in the debut production of the Australian musical, Once We Were. Created for Seymour-Brache Productions, the role was specifically written for her.
In 2013 DeVincentis earned the Music Theatre Guild of Victoria’s prestigious Doreen Burrows Award for best female performer in a leading role. Her winning star turn for Nova Music Theatre as Mama Rose Hovick in Gypsy, solidified the company’s decision in choosing such a young actress to play the powerfully iconic diva.
For her first solo foray, last year DeVincentis took part in The Cabaret Showcase program. Run under the shared guidance of Melissa Langton and Mark Jones, the pair developed this exciting venture to give emerging performers the chance to experience cabaret in both a professional and nurturing atmosphere.
Celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year, Chapel off Chapel in the Melbourne suburb of Prahran, has long been a space dedicated to cabaret. It seems fitting that DeVincentis debuts her one – woman engagement at this popular and beloved entertainment venue.
At 60 minutes in length, Jaclyn Nose Best features slick musical direction and expert piano accompaniment by Mark Jones. It is surely no accident that her show’s cheeky title is provocative to say the least.
Just as Rhonda Burchmore is known for her legs, Virginia Gay for her chin, Amanda Harrison for her smile, and Rebel Wilson for her frame, DeVincentis has taken her most prominent physical feature and run with it.
But that’s not all.
Where treading the boards has allowed DeVincentis the chance to shine as a musical theatre entertainer, cabaret’s simpler format will let audiences get to know her more as a person.
Jaclyn Nose Best is 60 minutes of story – telling sprinkled with a handful of brilliantly sung show – stoppers. Not only does DeVincentis have a gorgeous set of pipes, the big surprise is her hilarious and confident comic delivery.
With extended tales about customers’ quirks from her stint working at JB – Hi Fi, or how she unsuccessfully tried to conceal carpet stains from her mother, DeVincentis is a fast – talking riot.
The show’s further misadventures include stalking a former Australian idol contestant as a love – struck teen, her Facebook pet peeves, teaching drama to a group of future sociopaths, as well as being the hapless relationship advice guru to her many friends and colleagues.
Though some of her references may have only been familiar to friends and family in the opening night audience, that didn’t really matter. DeVincentis will immediately win you over with her naughty charm, regardless.
Jaclyn Nose Best is for the most part smart and sassy. DeVincentis however, closes with two songs that showcase her dramatic depth as well. Her renditions of ‘Home’ from The Wiz and ‘Happy Days Are Here Again’ (in tribute to Barbra Streisand), were both sublime.
This is an excellent freestanding vehicle for the radiant young star, and could work equally well joining any cabaret or comedy festival.
Watching DeVincentis glow in her element, I was reminded of a quote from the inimitable Barbra Cook. “If you’re able to be yourself, then you have no competition. All you have to do is get closer and closer to that essence.”
What a find!