The prospect of spending an hour with two rappers, both with reputations for pushing the right hand spectrum of their volume controls, didn’t totally engage me but, like so much of this OzAsia Festival, I should have been better prepared for what I got.
Joel Ma (aka Joelistics) and James Mangohig are two Asian Australians – one of Chinese extraction, the other Filipino – who have chosen to eschew most of their musical desires for this show in favour of telling terrific tales of their lives and heritage pitched against the prevailing ‘conventional wisdoms’ of Australians across 100 years.
Aided by a rich repository of historical photos, carefully presented on two screens by Jean Poole so as to not provide a distraction from the storytelling, theirs are stories of battles, loves and frustrations with both their families and this country. The result is a very modern Australian profile of a cultural landscape that is as diverse as their lineages. By pushing neither their beats nor their politics, In Between Two asks us all to assess the country we live in today, whether we fully accept our ethnic mix and whether we truly offer an equal opportunity for all in the egalitarian style we like to pride ourselves on.
This restraint is its strength, not that a little hip hop mixed in detracts in any way. Intelligent, provocative and inspiring for all Australians, In Between Two is an ambitious show that delivers for the Festival.
Kryztoff Rating 4K