Destined to be a highlight of the 2018 entertainment calendar My Name Is Jimi is a must see piece of extraordinary theatre. Four generations of the Bani family from Mabuiag – one of the many Torres Strait Islands – crowd the stage with song, dance, family history and campfire tales. Jimi, soon to be the new chief of Wagadadam, Mabuiag Island is as well a trained actor and an infectious natural leader and storyteller. He tells us of the need to carry forward his ancestors’ desires for his culture to survive. “Keeping The Fire Burning” as his distinguished grandfather Adhi Ephraim Bani Jnr called it.
My Name Is Jimi is a must see piece of extraordinary theatre.
There is no doubt that this culture is no longer only relegated to a small isle north-west of Cape York. This family troupe of players has been sharing this tale for over four years now and they excel in informing and entertaining all those who see it. The structure of the piece is very simple and served up fresh, as if almost improvised or slightly under-rehearsed. This makes it that much more fascinating. However of course it is totally honed and prepared. The use of models and projection to enhance the storytelling is a unique display of sophisticated naivety. It is dazzling to watch and creates a lot of humour. Huge applause to the designers Simona Cosentini, Simone Tesorieri and Justin Harrison.
Director and co-creator Jason Klarwein has allowed his naturally gifted performers full rein on the stage. In dance and song there is a special essence in the atmosphere while the dialogue is witty, sharp and poignant. Keep a watchful eye on the grandmother – Petharie Bani– something to behold there indeed.
All cultures suffer from the power of dominant societies and Mabuiag is no exception. Modernity and tradition can and must exist side by side.Hence, It’s vital we keep our own fires burning. The unusually spontaneous standing ovation from the audience that evening must signal that this is universally understood.
Mark G Nagle – Theatre Now & Talking Arts
Photo Credit: Daniel Boud
5 – 21 January 2018
Tuesday & Wednesday 6.30pm
Thursday & Friday 8pm
Saturday 2pm & 8pm
Venue: Belvoir Upstairs
Theatre Company: A Queensland Theatre production co-presented with Sydney Festival
Mabuiag Island: a remote speck in Mabuiag Island: a remote speck in the sparkling blue of the Torres Strait. Thousands of years of history and culture, with just a few hundred people keeping its flame alive. Now its favourite son is joking in three languages with his grandmother and torturing his son with spontaneous public breakdancing.
Jimi Bani (Title and Deed, the ABC’s Mabo) whisks you away to his island for an evening of music, dance, standup and storytelling. Four generations of one family take the stage, as Jimi’s grandmother, mother, son and brothers help him spin yarns of totems, traditions and childhood memories.
This is Jimi Bani’s superb testimony to his culture. It’s joyous, charming, and unlike anything you’ve seen before.
A Queensland Theatre production co-presented with Sydney Festival
Indigenous theatre at Belvoir supported by The Balnaves Foundation
Full Price $72
Subscriber Discount Rate $67
Seniors*/Groups (10 or more) $62
Student Saver# $37
* Seniors prices are available with an Australian Government-issued Seniors Card. Groups (10+) tickets available at same price.
† Concession prices are available with a full-time Australian student card, all Centrelink Pensioner concession cards and Veteran Affairs’ cards, and to Industry members of Actors Equity (MEAA), AACTA, ASMA, ASDA, ARDA, AFTT, Australian Academy of Dramatic Arts, Actors Centre, Performance Space, Australian Writers’ Guild, Artshub and the NSW Writers’ Centre.
# 30-Down and Student Saver prices are available for Previews, Wednesday evening, Thursday evening, Friday evening, Saturday matinee, Saturday evening.