Blackie Blackie Brown - The Traditional Owner of Death

Blackie Blackie Brown - The Traditional Owner of Death
By Nakkiah Lui. Malthouse – Beckett Theatre. 5- 29 July 2018

Slick, tight, fast moving, massively loud and marvelously cathartic, Blackie Blackie Brown is a kind of supernatural, part real and part animated, ‘Panto’.  And yes on opening night, with all its glitches, as audience we did get to call out - but not exactly “he’s behind you!”

It feels like being a big kid - sitting too close to a TV turned up ridiculously, but satisfyingly, loud – watching a ‘grown ups cartoon,’ with images inspired by Emily Johnson.  Its an immersive, hard-hitting, clever, ironic world where there are no ‘thought police’ and no holes barred. 

Overall Blackie Blackie Brown is salacious, shocking and hysterically funny.

Hugely charismatic performers Ash Flanders and Dalara Williams adopt appropriate personas for the numerous characters that people the versatile white, significantly raked stage, designed by Elizabeth Gadsby.  They work with massive aplomb and vitality to meet and match the energy of the swiftly moving video installations that transform space, time and place by Oh Yeah Wow and complementary colossal sound design by Steve Toulmin.

Nothing is sacred and Nakkiah Lui’s script incorporates biting satire and much ‘political incorrectness’ on cultural matters - both black and white.  It is most definitely not for the faint-hearted but full of violence and brutality, particularly in the form of flying boomerangs, that leave no one unscathed or unharmed.

The central and pivotal moment of the work is the retelling of the story of an aboriginal massacre.  It is described with brutal clarity through the spoken word.  The audience then learns of the desperate, bloody and horrifying response from a mother who watched the inhumane murder of her children.  From thence us whities don’t get a chance to indulge in our pathetic shame.  Blackie Blackie Brown becomes a high octane revenge story.

A magnificent black female superhero Blackie Blackie Brown is incarnated to take a justified and vicious revenge on the descendants of those who brutalized her mob.

Strangely this ‘in your face artistic version’ of our, not so hidden anymore, history - although speaking much vile truth with clarity - is way more palatable dressed up in a witty, relentless, satiating theatrical romp then as a history lesson.

If you can get a ticket don’t miss it.

Suzanne Sandow

Photographer: Phoebe Powell

Credits

Directed by Declan Greene

Design – Elizabeth Gadsby

Animation and Video – Oh Yeah Wow

Lighting and Projection Design – Verity Hampson

Composition and Sound Design – Steve Toulmin

Concept Artist – Emily Johnson

Cast – Ash Flanders and Dalara Williams

Video Appearances – Elaine Crombie, Peter Carroll, Amelia Adam, Luke Carroll, Hugh Riminton, Lachlan Woods, Francis Greenslade, Nayuka Gorriem Malik Keegan, Lisa Maza, Kempton Maloney and Judith Lucy

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