Presented by Adelaide Festival Centre
Reviewed 24 June 2022
Step into the life of late great Australian artist, dancer, and bohemian spirit, Vali Myers and experience life lead differently, from sleeping on the streets with refugees and delinquents in post-war Paris, to the luscious rolling valleys of Southern Italy – and all the spaces in-between.
Explore the unpredictable world of Australian icon, Vali Myers, in a theatrical production which creatively utilises a unique blend of theatre performers, circus artists, singers and musicians. Yet, this doesn’t feel too much like a variety show, as the common theme of Myers and her creative inspiration runs strong throughout all the acts (with a highlight including acrobatic performer Jess Love who gracefully traverses a rope high up near the theatre-ceiling as though gravity simply doesn’t exist).
In the beginning, Victoria Falconer hands props including a blonde, voluminous wig, a thin black moustache and large, round, black glasses, to members of the audience, creating replicas of some of Myer’s famous friends and followers, including Blondie, Dali and Warhol. This assists in painting a picture of the successful worldwide reach Vali managed to impress with her creativity.
Throughout the show, it feels like you’ve entered a bohemian camp somewhere in Europe in a time that’s past. Within a semi-circle is a casually-gathered group of musical instruments, alongside a picnic of baguettes, gold skulls, faux fur and flowers on a decadently patterned Turkish rug, and scattered with performers adorned in bohemian, hippy style. There are bare feet, layered silver bangles, decadent tattoos peeking out from underneath layered patchwork dresses of earthen colours, scarfs galore, free-flowing harem pants, lively tassels, and enough crushed velvet to fill a costume shop. The range of artists also wear big, voluminous red wigs, happily mimicking Myers’ distinctive red curls, plus drawn details on their faces to match her signature face tattoos.
The direction of And Then You Go highlights the beauty of the music in combination with dance, reminding us of the beauty of a splendid blend of masterfully played instruments, especially within the genre of cabaret where powerful vocals and sassy, comedic monologues usually dominate. And, with an array of instruments brought together cohesively, including the violin, flute, cello, accordion, drums, an array of guitars, electric keyboard and more, why would you not highlight these wonderful instruments!
Within these moments of instrumentals and flowing dances, the audience can clearly paint a picture of a free Vali swaying her body throughout the natural wonders of her “burrow” in Il Porto within a Southern Italian green valley.
The songs performed are all new and exciting originals written for this very show. Some even draw the lyrics directly from Vali’s own artworks, such as Before The World Was Made. In cohesion with these tunes are large, visual projections of the artist’s many detailed works, providing a matching visual feast to pair with the musical and vocal buffet. Some of Vali’s works take on a symmetrical, magical form, similar to the decorative designs and composition layout of mystical and psychic Tarot cards.
The show even embraces Vali’s love of unique pets, like foxes and owls, by including a performer’s pet dog on the stage as well as a memorable fox puppet, and showing the unjudgmental and unconditional loving bond between human and animal.
A lovely reference is to a current version of the free-willed and creatively gifted Vali in Florence Welch from Florence + The Machine, with her flowing red hair, bohemian and loose style and her obvious passion for creating interesting and beautiful works.
And Then You Go – The Vali Myers Project is not only a lovely way to remember and honour the late Vali Myers, but is also inspiring to its audience, ensuring everyone leaves the theatre with a little bit of Myers’ bohemian magic, which hopefully blooms within their everyday lives.
Reviewed by Georgina Smerd
Rating out of 5: 4.5
Photo Credit: Claudio Raschella
#Adelaide #CabaretFest #AdlCabaretFestival