Walanbaa Yulu-Gi: Burn the Floor (Palms at Crown and touring) – music theatre review

What a superb visual and aural feast Walanbaa Yulu-Gi is and how it has metamorphosised since Burn the Floor first burst onto the scene 25 years ago. Featuring the incredibly talented First Nations’ performer Mitch Tambo, the production has no shortage of sizzle. The deft footwork … the singing … the showmanship is top shelf all the way. In short, it is a slick celebration of Australian music and dance, incorporating Indigenous culture.

Photos by Belinda Strodder

The musical arrangements of the eclectic mix – from Highway to Hell to Gold, Khe San to Chandelier, Staying Alive to Kids – are mighty. Twenty-two numbers in all. Undoubtedly the piece de resistance is a stirring rendition of John Farnham’s You’re the Voice, primarily performed in native tongue, late in Act II.

The video backdrop changes from a visual of the land to a pub setting from the first to the second act. The constant is the connection to the audience that that musicians, vocalists and dancers have. The atmosphere is dynamic and inclusive. The buff performers are mesmerising, combining popular styles, from ballroom and Latin to jive and more. The costuming is sexy and sultry. The Indigenous dancers add a further, respectful layer.

Walanbaa Yulu-Gi: Burn the Floor has adroitly tapped into consciousness of land and country. I had a great sense of pride while sitting, watching … admiring what went down. Directed by Peta Roby, with creative direction from Alberto Faccio, we are taken on an emotionally uplifting journey. That is undoubtedly aided by outstanding choreography from Jorja Freeman and Robbie Kmetoni.

Perhaps the 100-minute show should be renamed Talent to Burn, for this is a production with bite, bounce and belief. It is playing the Palms at Crown until July 30th before touring through Victoria, Queensland, the ACT and NSW between August 1st and 13th. To book, go to www.burnthefloor.com/AUST-2023.html 

Alex First

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