Image – Claudio Raschella
Michaela Burger has made her mark wherever she has performed with her powerful singing voice, strong personality and beautifully expressive eyes. She recently knocked socks off with her portrayal of Edith Piaf. After seeing her in A Migrant’s Son, which is part of Adelaide’s very good Cabaret Festival, it is obvious that she comes from hardy stock. This account she has written about her family who left their homeland, Greece, makes that clear.
Michaela has researched hard, talked with and written to relatives and friends of these characters so close to her until she has unearthed good tales and bad, triumphs and disasters, admirable lives and tragic deaths. Not only has she woven a good story and told it well, she has illustrated it with old photographs. You know the sort of thing – where everyone is in their best clothes, told to sit very still, not smiling and looking like cut-outs. Somebody has such sepia coloured treasures in every family.
What makes this show special is that Michaela has written the songs and music which she sings with such clarity and feeling that you know they come from the heart. But they are not just songs to pass the time of day. They tell a story and it’s a good one. It is the story that millions of Australians could relate of leaving their homeland, facing up to the slings and arrows of outrageous racism, homophobia and sheer bloody-mindedness with courage, tenacity and hard work – and winning through. “Oh yes,” an audience may say, “we’ve heard it all before.” But not this audience. They recognised the talent of the singer and the veracity of the songs told with vigour, humour and love and, by golly, they showed their appreciation with close attention, hearty laughter at the funny bits, gentle groans of sympathy at the sad bits and a murmur of recognition for a touch of Zorba the Greek, bless his fast beating heart.
Michaela is well accompanied by a pianist and a guitarist who plays guitar and bouzouki and, at times, by the enthusiastic audience clapping to time and singing bits here and there. She is very glittery in silver and then in gold in her costumes at times but the add-ons she slipped on were more fitting for the topic, including a cloak her Dad, around whom this show spins, had had made with a large pound sign on it indicating his determination to make good. He did and left his mark in the growth of South Australia, Adelaide in particular.
Audiences in this neck of the woods know that Michaela was a student of the Adelaide Conservatorium of Music before going to London for more study and that she has travelled much since, earning accolades wherever she goes. We are proud of her and proud of her pride in her dynamic family.
Michaela Burger presents
A Migrant's Son
by Michaela Burger
Director Jane Packham
Venue: Artspace Festival Theatre | King William Road, Adelaide DA
Dates: 21 – 23 June 2018
Tickets: $26.90 – $41.90
Bookings: 131246 | adelaidecabaretfestival.com.au