Arts

OzAsia Festival Review: Since Ali Died

The passing of the great Muhammad Ali affected the world in many ways, none more so than Australian-born rapper, poet and author, Omar Musa.

4.5

Presented by Griffin Theatre Company

Reviewed 1 Nov 2019

The passing of the great Muhammad Ali affected the world in many ways, none more so than Australian-born rapper, poet and author, Omar Musa.

Musa, born and bred in Queanbeyan, Australia, uses the death of his hero Muhammad Ali as the foundation for this powerful and topical piece of theatre.

Weaving his way between poetry, stories and rap, Musa take the audience on a journey through his own life, from growing up in a Muslim family of Borneo decent, through to living in the United States and being targeted by our own politicians. His poetry is powerful, his raps deliver the punch they are intended to and his honesty has the audience eating out of his hand. There are times where you forget this is a one-person show. Musa’s huge personality fills the room when it needs to, but his clever stagecraft draws you right in at times as well, leaving you forgetting that there is an audience sitting alongside you – you could swear it is just you and him.

Musa is a master of the English language. His poetry (including his raps) are thought provoking and his imagery is phenomenal. Having the author recite his own poetry also makes the impact of their messages be driven home that little bit more. He jumped between stories about his life and childhood and his admiration for Muhammad Ali seamlessly, at times leaving a poem incomplete while moving to another part of the story, leaving the audience hanging on for the rest of the story. Through his body language and clever use of the stage, the audience was able to follow each piece of the story as he returned to them.

The show has layer upon layer of messages – political, religious, relational, ethical. Musa uses his poetry to address each one with brutal honesty and at times, a touch of humour. 

The lighting design for Since Ali Diedwas outstanding. Not only did it enhance Musa’s work, but added an extra dimension to this performance. The use of colour and shadow helped draw you into this wonderfully crafted performance. Kudos to the uncredited lighting designer.

Omar Musa’s Since Ali Died is only in Adelaide for a short 2-show season. If you have the chance to get a ticket to his final performance, do so. This thought-provoking piece of theatre is a must see, not only for the timely content, but also to see this incredible performer work his magic.

Reviewed by Ben Stefanoff

Rating out of 5: 4.5

Venue: Space Theatre

Season: Until 2 Nov 2019

Duration: 1 hour 5 mins

Tickets: $30 – $45

Bookings: www.ozasiafestival.com.au

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