A modern day odyssey
Reviewed at Burnside Ballroom on 22 February 2019
Presented by Michaela Burger
It’s busy, it’s a blue grey tunnel of a room resembling a Nissan hut on a very large scale. Starlight gobos adorn the ceiling and some of the tables downstairs occupied by a talkative host of an audience enjoying a Greek BBQ before Michaela Burger takes the stage. The atmosphere is pure Australian/Greek conviviality. I might not be Greek but I know Greek hospitality when I see it. Joyous, inclusive, generous to a fault and it smells like heaven.
The audience chatters away and at the appointed time, well just a little after actually, Michaela Burger takes the stage. Entering to a traditional Greek tune she moves through the audience to the stage and we are mesmerised by her charismatic personality encouraging us to join in and we attempt to even if we don’t know the song.
Petite, dressed in a gold mini dress the bottom half of which and the sleeves are shimmering in a covering of gold sequins, she takes the stage which is occupied by a woman on keyboards, a man on drums and a man on bouzouki. Michaela Burger is extraordinary. A singer who can act and an actor who can elevate an audience out of itself and into the middle of the story she is conveying. This woman is pure bliss to watch, heaven to listen to and her storytelling is so clever you don’t realise she has picked you up and carried you away on a journey from the beginning of the last century to the present until you are bumped back into reality again.
Ms Burger has written a modern day odyssey, a journey from Greece to Russia, to Australia to Port Pirie, Adelaide, Coobe Pedy and back again, and all with a sense of excitement, determination, and above all family, because the family is everything! I took a lot of notes about song content, journeys through hardship, success through sheer hard work and I realised when I sat down to write this review they were not going to be of any use at all. You have to go and see this show to understand how well crafted it is, how important a documentation of part of the history of this wonderful country we live in it is. How important it is that we love and support anyone who chooses to come and live here because we are a country made up of all the best qualities that are found in our immigrant societies. The men and women who have worked tirelessly and constantly to make our world a better place to live in not just for their families but for all of us.
The songs, all from the pen and the heart of Michaela Burger, are beautiful. We sing when the emotional need in our communication becomes too big to speak and these songs are a wonderful example of this. They underpin the story, open our hearts and make us feel that we are part of this journey, which of course we are. Tonight a couple of hundred people got touched by this story and the pebble that has dropped into the pond ripples out into our communities, our place in Australia and eventually our place in the world.
Special mention to The La La Choir, under the expert tutelage of Carol Young. Their presence was the additional emotional trigger needed to lift a few of the songs into a place where Michaela could soar above a secure and clear landscape of sound pitched to the perfect place.
Also the three piece band led by Carol Young dovetailed so effortlessly into the support of Michaela’s voice, it was a joy ot listen to the results of their work. Excellent sound reinforcement, creative lighting and some pictures from the history of this valued South Australian/Greek family who never forgot what it was like to be poor and so put value and money into the the hearts and pockets of every South Australian lucky enough to know their generosity.
I could repeat the story but that would detract from the enjoyment of anyone fortunate enough to get along to see this unique, stimulating and inspiring story crossing three generations of the family that made Michaela Burger. If you miss it this time demand she brings it back. It should really be featuring in The Festival not the Fringe. Michaela Burger is a a star that is shining bright over The Adelaide Fringe this year.
Reviewed by Adrian Barnes
Venue: Burnside Ballroom, 401 Greenhill road, Tusmore
Season: 22 – 24 february
Duration: 80 minutes
Tickets: Balcony Seat show only $35 Table Seat Meal + Show $60
Private Booth show only $35 Table seat Meal + show $60