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Review: The Soldier's Wife at Bleach* Festival

By Tara Ramsay

Bleach* festival, held on the Gold Coast every April is a mutli-arts experience that utilizes the beautiful backdrop of the Gold Coast and offers something for everyone, including - dance, music, theatre, public art and street performances, some are ticketed but many are free.

On Anzac Day, I had the pleasure of sitting on the grass at Burleigh Heads with the ocean in the background and listening to the mesmerizing sounds of ‘The Soldier’s Wife’, made up of four Queensland vocalists – Roz Pappalardo, Jackie Marshall, Kristy Apps and Deb Suckling, two with acoustic guitars and their original songs that were inspired by the stories of women whose partners served over the years.

The songs were all beautifully written and the harmonies when all the women sang were captivating, they even got some of the women from the HOTA choir to assist in a few songs as they were there watching in the crowd and had performed with them a few nights earlier.

I loved hearing the stories about the women who inspired the songs in-between each one. There was apparently an 18 hour train ride with 40 war wives that some of the songwriters went on and this is where they really got to hear so many different stories and proved to be a trip that whilst long, inspired many of the songs in their repertoire.

One of my favourite songs was ‘Won’t be quiet’ – about a woman whose husband was ill with Asian Orange, and who didn’t want to be quiet about it anymore. There were also songs and stories of women keeping communities together, love, friendship and the resilience that came out of loss and sadness.

I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my Anzac Day, listening to ‘The Soldier's Wife’.

Bleach Festival runs across the Gold Coast until the 28th of April, but will be back better and bigger next year, so pencil that in your diaries!

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All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.


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