Review: A Migrant’s Son at Riverside Theatres Digital

Review by Charlotte Leamon

A Migrant’s Son created and performed by Michaela Burger is a one-woman show following the story of Michaela’s father Luke, and the story of her Greek family’s journey to Australia. Told from her own perspective, Michaela embodied characters of her grandma (γιαγιά), father (Bampás), great-grandfather and more in order to create an intergenerational timeline for the audience.

The online event was very well executed, and was filmed at the Hopgood Theatre in South Australia where Michalea was accompanied by a live band and the La La Land Choir. Michaela entered the stage with energy and a smile, wearing a greek garment as she began to retell the story of her generational family. With different items of clothing representing different characters, Michaela also accurately impersonated people with accents and voices, adding comedic elements to the show. In true cabaret style, Michaela had costume changes with an interlude of music, wearing gold in order to represent Greece, and adding an extravagant element to the show. Michaela mostly retold the story of her family through song, displaying passion through her voice. Themes of discrimination, glory and family were present as Michaela took the audience back to the 1930s to Coober Pedy. The audience was taken through the life of Luke, who was told by his father and mother, “Family is everything.” This quote was a motif for the rest of the show as Luke faced hardships of losing his supermarket in a fire, his father not allowing him to travel, but overall sacrificing many opportunities for his family.

Through the use of a projector to show pictures of Luke’s life, Michaela created a space where the audience could put a face to the man, making the show more realistic and personable. Overall, Michaela’s expression through her voice and physicality emoted the audience as she beautifully represented the story of her family. Her passion for her past was evident and allowed the audience to connect with the ups and downs of a migrants story. An extra element to the online event was a Q&A with Chris Bendall where Michaela discussed why she chose to produce a show after her father. She claimed his determined attitude and love for family, as well as his rich past was worth showing to others. Similarly, an audience member stated this show should be called ‘The Migrant’s Story’, as themes of hardship, discrimination, yet hope are elements of every migrants story.

Michaela’s hard work and passion into her show is evident, making the audience fall in love with her story. It is a must see, and whilst it was not live, the experience was not any less as the energy of all members involved is captivating.