28 September 2007
Merlyn Theatre, CUB Malthouse
Kin is made by one family for all families to share.
Stephen Page has been the Artistic Director of the Bangarra Dance Theatre since 1991 and was Artistic Director of the 2004 Adelaide Festival of the Arts. In Kin, his cast are his son and nephews, who range in age from 10 to 14. His brother David composed the music. This family love working together, but it’s far removed from Von Trapps and Osmonds.
Page says, “The process started with a trip back to Country with my father and we talked about their culture and re-told stories. It was great. The boys’ eyes lit up – you could see this was something in their blood.” And so the boys from the city began creating their interpretation of old stories and telling us their own yarns.
Kin is told by the boys, so it is their view of their own world. Under the clear direction of Page, they don’t avoid the expected issues of racism, referendums and substance abuse, but neither are these issues all that their story is about. Guitars, rap and hip hop are possibly more important in a young teenager’s life.
Humour is a natural part of the telling. This is where the true personalities of the cast are evident and most revel in the audience’s response. There’s frustration and anger in some of the humour, and that’s what makes it so powerful. Don’t miss the joke about the coloured white folk. Page clearly guided the telling of some of the more sensitive issues, especially the very poignant and abstract depiction of petrol sniffing.
Kin is thoroughly captivating. Page captures the honest and raw energy of his cast and blends it seamlessly with his own signature choreography. Content aside, the cast are disciplined, controlled and skilled dancers.
Seeing children and families in the Merlyn together is fabulous. Bring your kids and your nieces and nephews and their friends. Although not recommended for the very little, Friday night’s audience proved Kin is for everyone.
This review originally appeared on AussieTheatre.com.