Running late as usual, my co-writer and I raced to the theatre to find ourselves in unfortunate seating, which will probably leave us with aching necks for weeks. However, despite the rocky start the set caught our attention and drew our focus back to the impending production.
In the centre, the main prop a beautiful wooden structure (slightly resembling ‘Pride Rock’) filled the stage with its loneliness. To accommodate the setting, a chalk drawing quietly being completed during the play symbolises not only Albert Namatjira’s artistic ability but also portrays the beauty of the land.
Trevor Jamieson paints an untold story from the perspective of Namatjira’s grandchildren, adopting satirical humour to dilute the darkness thrust upon indigenous peoples during the 1900’s. Jamieson successfully invites the audience into the tragedy of Namatjira’s rise and fall, hauntingly accredited to fame and therefore his position in his community.
Derek Lynch joins Jamieson on stage as his comedic sidekick. Lynch entertains the audience by playing both male and female characters. He plays a crucial part in making this performance multi faceted.
To conclude, Namatjira gives us an intimate account of the life of one of Australia’s most profound artists. It delivers insight into the mistreatment of indigenous Australians and the impact it had on Albert Namatjira’s journey.
The lighting design added to the overall intensity of the play, the acting was well carried out and the singing voices of both Jamieson and Lynch was a definite highlight. This show is well worth seeing especially if interested in the artist … however, we’ll be seeing the chiropractor tomorrow.
Namatjira is running at The Playhouse until 17 September. More details on the Canberra Theatre website.