Barbara and the Camp Dogs. By Ursula Yovich and Alana Valentine and Adm Ventoura. Directed by Leticia Caceres. Musical director Jessica Dunn. Set designer Stephen Curtis. Produced in association with Vicki Gordon Music Pty. Ltd. Indigenous Theatre at Belvoir supported by the Balnaves Foundation. Belvoir . The Playhouse. Canberra Theatre Centre. Finished June 1.
The band rocks under the pub's coloured lights as Belvoir's revival of Barbara and the Camp Dogs explodes into action.
Currently on a national tour, Barbara and the Camp Dogs is a dynamo of truth telling, a powerful statement from the heart, a cry from the soul and a theatrical tour de force to blow us away and open our minds and hearts.
A singer with the band The Camp Dogs, Barbara (Ursula Yovich) erupts with the anger born of a troubled past and unresolved injustice.
Her cousin René (Elaine Crombie) shares her pain, though not her anger.
Where Barbara spits her anger out in forceful lyrics, René finds refuge in her soulful song and playful humour.
Barbara, rejected by her father, separated from her brother Joseph (Troy Jungaji Brady) and orphaned after the death of her mother is taken in by René's mother, who has become seriously ill in Katherine.
The sisters, in an ironic twist of deception, pose as Indians to take a gig to afford the flight to Darwin to visit the mother in hospital, only to find that she has returned to Katherine.
Writers Yovich and Alana Valentine have skilfully woven the tangled web of injustice and the suffering of First Nation peoples through the fabric of the journey in a brilliantly alive production directed with fierce energy and moving sensitivity by Leticia Caceres.
Racist jibes and ignorant prejudice suffocate compassion and tear families apart.
The cruel fate of an abused people is exposed in the stark light of blazing truths.
Writers Yovich and Alana Valentine have skilfully woven the tangled web of injustice and sufferance of First Nation peoples through the fabric of the journey in a brilliantly alive production ...
In a monologue that rips open the chasm of pain in Barbara's life, Yovich reaches deep within to reveal the searing agony of unjust suffering. It is the most powerful moment in the show, plumbing gut-wrenching truths and compelling empathy.
It is the raw power of the performances of Yovich and Crombie that reverberates with the honesty of their experience. Theirs is a story of survival, told with the vocal force of their songs and the charismatic power of their storytelling.
Barbara and the Camp Dogs is a story of the search for self-discovery and the affirmation of identity. Hope survives in the power of love and family.
Belvoir's dynamic production raises its powerful voice for reconciliation. Through the laughter, the songs and the tears, this is the revival we had to have.