[20020039] The Career Highlights of the Mamu

The Career Highlights of the Mamu

Black Swan Theatre Company @ The Playhouse

2:00pm, Mon 4 Mar 2002

Score: 7

Short Review: Warm and personal

“The Career Highlights of the Mamu” is a very personal piece of work, as seen and told by writer/performer Trevor Jamieson, as he seeks out his homelands and, hence, his identity. Along the way, we encounter the Mamu – or Devil – as the Tjuntjuntarra are forced from their land due to the atomic testing at Maralinga, which is contrasted to the bombing of Hiroshima.

The displacement of the native peoples from Maralinga also brings to light the younger generations movements to Kalgoorlie and the white influences of alcohol and fast food, both of which threaten the traditional cultures. And, despite the weighty matters described, there is still a healthy dose of humour to be had – the discovery of railway tracks is hysterically funny. Good use, too, is made of video cameras on stage, as well as pre-recorded projected sequences and live music.

The most striking thing about this performance is the fondness and warmth shown – only to be expected, really, since it really is a family affair (a large portion of Jamieson’s family joins him on stage). The culture of the Spinifex people is also to the fore, with tribal dances shown for the first time to the outside world (in fact, one reason for the Tjuntjuntarra children’s presence on stage was to enable them to see and learn these dances). This more than makes up for the lack of coherency in the piece.