Review | Kalyakoorl Collective’s ‘Fire’ blazes through to the heart

Fire | The Blue Room | 10th July 2021 | ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Presented by the Blue Room Theatre and Kalyakoorl Collective, Fire begins with beautiful traditional language, and the memory of a past loved one, as the intricate set design is slowly engulfed in warm light.

Written and performed by Ebony McGuire (Cloudstreet) alongside Nadia Maritich (CO_EX_EN, Bilya Kaatijin), this production combines dance, poetry, song, and storytelling – off the back of highly successful season at Fringe World, and further developed for this full-length remount.

“Holly and Lyss have a lot to talk about and being able to explore that since our last season at Fringe has been a dream, especially with such a great team …” says Ebony McGuire.

Holly (Maritich) is a strong woman, entrusted as the mother-figure after the disappearance of their mother; which frustrates Lyss (McGuire), who has had to grow up self-reliant and estranged. One sister has fond memories of their childhood, whilst the other is plagued by their spectres. Fire explores the complexities behind warring perspectives, whilst equally breaking down the walls between sisters as they finally see each other for the women they’ve become.

Inspired by a Noongar poem, and a film script written by Ebony, the idea for Fire to become theatrical was borne one September afternoon in the back of a Yirra Yaakin bus, whilst on tour. Not long thereafter, McGuire and Maritich teamed up with a standout, female-lead cohort, to bring Fire to life under the stars.

Although some moments of silence between characters extends too long, the poignancy of each is not lost. The many climaxes, arguments, and “hot-headedness” provides clear connection of the sisters, fire is in their blood, and in their love for another. The dialogue is striking, heavy, and leaves a weight on the audience – which broke, allowing tears to be shared by actors and audience members.

With honourable mention to Christopher Moro, for his portrayer of the awkward, yet charming boyfriend caught in between the conflicting sisters – adding brevity in all the right moments!

As Gina Williams talks about an Indigenous Renaissance on the heels of the Perth International Cabaret Festival, Fire breathes this sentiment into the theatre space; filled with family, culture, and koort (heart).

Fire continues its momentous run until 10 July, making it a perfect addition to the upcoming NAIDOC celebrations at The Blue Room Theatre. Be sure to get your tickets before they go up in smoke!

Joshua Haines

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