BATS Theatre, Wellington

12/03/2015 - 21/03/2015

Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

06/06/2017 - 17/06/2017

NZ Fringe Festival 2015 [reviewing supported by WCC]

Production Details


Jingles – The Musical is an original musical comedy using only songs and jingles from classic NZ ads, incorporated seamlessly (and not so seamlessly) into a hilarious skewering of the age-old musical story: a small town girl perched on the edge of big city stardom. Featuring music from the best ads of the 80s and 90s, including “You Can Tell a Wella Woman”, “Dancing the Columbine”, McDonalds’ “It’s Gonna be a Lovely Day”, and much more! 

Wella McDonald, a farmer’s daughter from the small town of Rainbow’s End, has a natural ability to predict the weather. When her father reveals the identity of her real mother as being the owner of TV3, Wella decides to travel all the way to the big city to meet her. Finding herself inside the TV3 building, Wella decides to win her mother’s respect by excelling in the world of weather-presenting. What follows is a funny and subversive take on the musical genre. 

Writer & director Dean Hewison says, “These catchy songs have been bouncing around in my head for decades, occasionally forcing a dinner-party sing-along. I realised that without their television outlet, they were just looking for somewhere to belong. The Fringe Festival is that place, and Jingles will set them free.” But he also has a warning: “With all these jingles brought together in one spot, there’s an excellent chance some of them will follow you home.”

None of the jingles will have any lyrics changed – if they say “With McDonald’s for breakfast it’ll be a lovely day”, then that’s what will be used. Musician Amand Gerbault-Gaylor has taken the compositions and given them arrangements that pull them into the world of musical theatre, while still keeping everything that made the jingle so addictive in the first place. Featuring choreography from Brigid Costello, the show will be a high-energy feel-good event.

Jingles – The Musical stars Hayley Sproull (Miss Fletcher Sings the Blues), Carrie Green (Conversations With My Penis) and Jack Buchanan (Destination Beehive). It is the first musical from Dean Hewison, writer/director of Conversations With My Penis, creator of Two Day Plays (Best of Fringe 2009), and director and co-writer of Make My Movie winner How to Meet Girls From a Distance and 2013 48HOURS winner The Sleeping Plot. The show is produced by Out of Bounds (FootBallistic, Hypnotastic, Out of Bounds Sounds, Conversations With My Penis).  

Thurs 12 – Sat 14 March, 9pm 
Tues 17 – Sat 21 March, 8pm   
Book online: www.bats.co.nz or call (04) 802 4175 
$18 / $14 Conc / $12 Fringe Artists/Addicts. 


Ever get a catchy ad tune stuck in your head? Then prepare yourself for 20 of them…! After an award-winning season in Wellington, Jingles – The Musical will thrill Auckland audiences with a reinterpretation of classic New Zealand ad melodies – telling a hilarious story of a small-town girl perched on the edge of stardom. Jingles will be performing at Basement Theatre, Auckland from 6 June to 17 June 2017.

A cast of three bring Jingles to life on stage, including Auckland 2017 Billy T Award nominee comedian Paul Williams, alongside powerful songstresses Jessie Lawrence and Carrie Green. All topped off with cheese-pop choreography from ex RNZ Ballet dancer and soul-child of the 90s, Brigid Costello.

There is not much that isn’t absolutely bang on in terms of timing, performance and hilarity… Jingles –The Musical is a winner. Do not miss it.” Theatreview, 2015.

“A quick warning: with all these jingles brought together in one spot, there’s an excellent chance some of them will follow you home.” Dean Hewison, writer. 

Winner of three NZ Fringe Awards (2015) including Best Musical and Best Comedy, Jingles – The Musical will transport audiences into the very best of NZ Ad-land for a hilarious night of flashbacks and toe tapping chuckles.

Jingles – The Musical plays
Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland
6th – 17th June 2017, 8pm
For more details: http://www.basementtheatre.co.nz  

JINGLES The Musical stars:

2015 - Wellington
Hayley Sproull
Carrie Green
Jack Buchanan 

2017 - Auckland
Paul Williams 
Jessie Lawrence 
Carrie Green


Theatre , Musical ,

A good, solid kick in the culture

Review by Lexie Matheson ONZM 09th Jun 2017

On Tuesday my spouse and I attended the King’s College ‘Marsden Musicale’ where the young men of Marsden House took the opportunity to display their considerable musical talents in an evening organised entirely by themselves. The finale was a song written by the students and set to a well-known tune. It was a showstopper … and it’s right there, right now, belting away in my head and even thinking of England won’t make it go away. The earworm, it would seem, has landed.

No surprise, then, that when I front at The Basement the next night to see JINGLES The Musical, after first seeing Julia Croft’s excellent Power Ballad, I was primed and seriously ready for Earworms 2.0.  

As the title suggests, JINGLES The Musical is a delightful opportunity to reacquaint Kiwi audiences with some classic advertising earworms of the past. There are plenty of them and many of the best, and most memorable, are included. McDonalds features often, Columbine legwear is there, the ‘Make it Click’ campaign, Tux “Fit as a fiddle, sharp as a knife”, the definitive Wella hook – “You can tell a Wella woman by the way she wears her hair” … And, of course, Ches and Dale from down on the farm who “really know their cheese’; how could we have a show of this magnitude without those lovable, old rascals?

To avoid the dilemma of the show seeming like a concert of 30sec jingle hooks there is a plot and it’s a good one. ‘Wella McDonald’, the advertising tells us “lives in the small farming community of Rainbow’s End. After learning that her birth mother is the head of TV3, she ventures up to the big city to try to win her mother’s respect – as a weather-presenter.”

She’s a natural at this weather stuff is Wella and, since we’re in ‘happy ever after’ country, everything works out astonishingly well but, as the memes often tell us, it’s the journey and not the destination that counts, and so it is with Jingles.

Seems simple, and it is. Most great concepts invariably are, and writer Dean Hewison (Conversations with my Penis and ‘Two Day Plays’) has hit on a real winner. The narrative is fittingly odd but in an elusive, comic-booky sort of way. Best of all, it allows the three highly skilled performers – Jessie Lawrence, Paul Williams and Carrie Green – to flash their consummate wares.

Lawrence plays Wella splendidly throughout; Williams plays Wella’s step-Dad, a crazy German tourist and Bud, while Green plays everyone else including ‘Mother of the Nation’ Bernadette Hawkeshire – oh, and legless Jenny. See the production; you’ll understand what I mean. 

Following a season in Wellington – and some cast changes: Lawrence and Williams are new – JINGLES The Musical has finally made it up the nightmare that is SH1, all the way home to the Big Smoke and the wonderful world of TV3 – or as it’s now called, ‘Three’.

The script doesn’t take itself too seriously which is probably the right approach with content like this but it’s tight, performable and wildly entertaining. Clever too, because, while we love the ditties and the suitably kitsch choreography (Brigid Costello), we are equally engaged with the ever-evolving plot. As comedy writing goes, it’s very smart stuff. 

There’s not much point have a great script if you don’t have the performers to pull it off and, in this case, Hewison has three, all singing, all dancing, crackerjacks. 

Jessie Lawrence’s Wella has a wonderful homespun, farm-girl naiveté about her but she’s super smart as well. Hers is a fine performance and she hits all her marks.

Paul Williams exudes a warm charm that enables him to slip from one character to another with seeming ease and his German tourist is a real hoot.

Carrie Green, the only survivor from the Wellington production, slips easily across the gender divide and is as at home as the sleazy, male news presenter Coca Cola as she is as the upmarket Dame Julie Christie clone Bernadette Hawkeshire. Green is often the candle around which Lawrence and Williams flit and it works out splendidly well. 

Perhaps the most impressive feature of this work is the balance achieved between the show’s technical requirements, the text, the song, the excellent dance, and the actors themselves. It feels nigh on perfect, helped as it is by super talented artists who barely miss a step throughout the rip-snorting 60 minutes journey. Lawrence is especially good and it probably helps that it’s her narrative and she only plays the one character. That’s not to downplay Williams and Green who bring terrific variety to the fascinating tale.

There’s a sense throughout that this is throw-away, fast-food stuff and the performers certainly play it with vivacity and flair but it’s actually much more primal than that. The second night audience I was a part of seemed to really understand that these lightweight jingles and the Dagg-like plot actually hit us unerringly right where we live like a good, solid kick in the culture. They’re every bit as important as Dave Dobbyn, John Clarke, Richie McCaw and Judy Bailey because they underpin who we are as a people and reference our daily lives in the most uniquely intimate of ways.

This why I say it’s clever and perceptive work – and marketable too as there are so many opportunities for sponsorship and future product placement. I can’t wait for Jingles 2 because there’s so much more material available and Hewison is more than capable of weaving what still remains into a suitably credible, madcap narrative for Round Two. These are, after all, the ways of our lives.

Recommended? Yep. If you don’t come, Monique will say you’re dumb.


Make a comment

A winner

Review by Jo Blick 13th Mar 2015

Love them or hate them, advertising jingles sometimes define us better than our pop music. Highlanders rugby fans know the words of the Speights ‘Southern Man’ song better than they know the National Anthem and of course, there’s the story of the trade delegation, who when asked by their Japanese hosts to sing a Kiwi folk song, launched into a rousing rendition of the Chesdale Cheese ad.

That last one is possibly an urban myth (pity) but it does show the place that songs from ads have in our popular culture. Forget the Finn Brothers, it’s Hugo and his KFC loving sister who are really NZ’s favourite singing siblings. 

No wonder then that the audience at the opening night of Jingles – The Musical was having such an uproarious time. Dean Hewison’s latest offering  bundles up a whole pile of our favourite 80s and 90s advertising jingles and incorporates them into a timeless tale of a country girl set loose in the big city, looking to make the big time and finding love, heartache and Cadbury Flake bars along the way.

Cast members Hayley Sproull, Jack Buchanan and Carrie Green are a delight to watch, bringing huge amounts of energy to an incredibly fast paced show. All three play off each other beautifully with Sproull providing an appealing heart to the show as the innocent but gutsy Wella McDonald. Buchanan and Green slip into their multiple roles with ease, Buchanan’s broad-accented Kiwi farmer being a delightfully rural highlight and Green’s portrayal of… well, you never know who Green was going to come out as next, all equally hilarious and presented with pinpoint characterisation. 

Hewison has provided them with a ripper script, which is often much cleverer than it pretends to be, and his direction is excellent. Amand Gerbault-Gaylor is a bit of a star in his own right as accompanist and kudos also to Brigid Costello for choreography that incorporates every cheesy late 20th century music video cliche you can think of (and a few you may have forgotten).

There are a couple of niggles. There may be one or two jingles too may as there is a teeny bit of drag as the show reaches it’s end. There is also the occasonal drop out in the harmonies, although that’s hardly surprising given how fast and hard the cast are moving at times. Overall, though, there is not much that isn’t absolutely bang on in terms of timing, performance and hilarity.

I may never get the Tux Dog biscuit jingle out of my head and I’ll certainly never see Fru Jus in the same light again but Jingles –The Musical is a winner. Do not miss it.


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council