Review | ‘Koorlangka Reimagined’ at Perth International Cabaret Festival

Koorlangka Reimagined | His Majesty’s Theatre | ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ 

Koorlangka Reimagined received a well deserved standing ovation on opening night of the Perth International Cabaret Festival.

Singer, songwriter Gina Williams is the absolute star of the show. She has a wonderfully warm and cheerful and stage presence. She’s funny, cheeky and charming. She’s also exceedingly passionate about growing the number of Noongar language speakers, pointing out how language and culture are so firmly intertwined. Understanding Noongar language is non-essential to enjoying this show.

All of Gina’s wonderfully entertaining traits, together with Guy’s musical talent, make them adept at bringing Noongar language to a wider audience. The songs are engaging. I found myself tapping my feet several times during the show. Songs you’d normally think are written for children are actually suitable for all ages. Her song teaching us how to count to five in Noongar is lively and catchy. If you had small children, you’d be happy with them repeatedly singing it.

Koorlangka translates to children/legacy. The songs are all about or for children in one way or another, spanning several generations of her own family’s childhood. She comfortably weaves her way through stories and songs of country, family, and nature.

She starts the show with an epic song, deserving of a contract for a blockbuster Disney movie. The songs are all very personal. Each one has a story and the audience was privileged with Gina’s honest and heartfelt telling of those stories. The presence of her father in her life, who passed away when she was twelve, inspired an off-set list performance of a song she wrote for him. When she was a child, while the musical institution of the time did not recognise her potential, her father gave her enormous support and encouragement. She spoke of her humble appreciation for the duo being invited to be the opening act for the festival.

Russell Holmes is a seasoned pianist who has composed beautiful accompaniment for piano, violin and cello, bringing in Dolce Ensemble to perform the strings. The fusion is perfect. The Welcome to Country was moving and engaging. I loved this show and would encourage you see it for yourself.

Halimah Halse

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