Review | Laura Money
Meyne Wyatt‘s City of Gold is the kind of theatre that’s worth shouting about. It’s an honest and raw depiction of Aboriginality in a contemporary era. A post Sorry Day era. A post Eddie Mabo era. A post ’67 Referendum era. So why does it feel like nothing has changed? Drawing on ways of storytelling, Wyatt threads lineage and culture flawlessly into every element of the show in a brilliantly realised non-linear story that at its core is a pertinent take on Australian identity. It’s clear that something’s got to give because the current climate is stifling and we can’t breathe.
In this semi-autobiographical play, Wyatt returns to his Kalgoorlie home following the death of his father. Sister Carly (Simone Detourbet) warily welcomes him with open arms, but her stress is clear as she struggles to keep it together. Brother Michael Cooper is more reserved as he openly shows disdain for Wyatt’s apparent ‘selling out.’ His combative attitude towards his little brother comes to a head in his later defence of him. Ian Michael plays Wyatt’s hearing impaired cousin in a sensitive and endearing portrayal of familial loyalty.
All moments of time pass seamlessly through the brilliant set by Tyler Hill which weaves past and present through its dreamlike layers. With a tangible front and patio the set extends into the back of the stage in an essence of house. It’s perfect for the representation of Wyatt’s father (Trevor Ryan) whose echoing voice and distinct figure reminds Wyatt that dreaming is ever present. As important as family and culture is to this piece, it is Wyatt’s phenomenal monologue about Aboriginal and black identity that cements his place as an important voice of a generation. Standing on top of the patio he uses his literal platform and shouts his truth from the rooftops. Wyatt’s call to arms is electrifying. It scathingly attacks Eurocentric myopic depictions of Aboriginal people and culture and expresses justified anger and frustration in an elegantly delivered piece of spoken word. There is a charge in the air for the rest of the work which contributes to the emotionally draining climax.
City of Gold is a brilliant start to Black Swan State Theatre Company’s 2022 season – Kin. It proves that family is complicated but that cultural notions of kinship create a tightly woven connection that may sometimes get frayed but never breaks.
City of Gold has now finished its run in Perth but you can still catch it with Sydney Theatre Company at The Wharf Theatre 7th May – 11th June 2022. TICKETS
The Fourth Wall acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we engage in storytelling on – the Wadjhuk people of the Noongar nation. We pay respects to their elders past, present, and emerging.
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