Adelaide Fringe

Fringe Review: The Daly River Girl

The Daly River Girl is the raw and emotional telling of writer Tessa Rose’s life so far.


Presented by Tandanya- National Aboriginal Cultural Institute
Reviewed 29th Feb 2020

The Daly River Girl is the raw and emotional telling of writer Tessa Rose’s life so far. From the very beginning the audience are introduced to the harsh and cruel reality that Tessa and many Aboriginal children endured. From early childhood through to adulthood we watch as Foster Families, a Domestic Violence relationship, friendships, family and Connection to Country all play a role in the journey that Tessa has been on.

With the story being told through Tallulah’s eyes, the audience experiences everything from the excitement of receiving a baby rag doll through to sickening blows of Tallulah being beaten by the man she loves. The storyline is not entirely linear and switches back and forth between points in time making it difficult to keep track at some points whether we are experiencing a moment in Tallulah’s childhood  or as an adult reflecting on a childhood memory that is causing her trauma in an adult memory.

Either way the trauma throughout is indescribable and as Tessa relives racial taunts and the heartless actions of her foster sister it is possible to vividly visualise her as a child experiencing these events and the hurt it must have caused. As Tessa screams and relives the pain it is her strength that stands out the most, and as she speaks of her friend and her children the pride and love radiates through the venue. It is a testimate to Tessa that she has been able to create such a powerful performance with the strength to embrace her past and to have found her place in the world to know where she fits.

A special mention must go to the art work on the back screen that depicts the many different journeys Tallulah took; the colours are gorgeous and the design sublime. As the performance came to an end and the audience errupted into applause it became apparent that they had had a similar experience to mine, with emotions running into overdrive and I think we all left with a stronger sense of Social Justice.  

Reviewed by Tara Forbes-Godfrey

Rating out of 5: 4  This is what empowerment looks like

Season Ended

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