Imagine leaving your homeland for a better life, but without your family or any idea where you are going? A Migrant’s Son is cabaret artist Michaela Burger’s new show which tells the story of her father’s life in Australia, as well as the intertwined story of her ancestors and wider family’s part in his story.
A Migrant’s Son was held in the beautiful Burnside Ballroom, and began with the story of her great-grandparents’ arrival in Australia from Greece and the struggles they faced settling into a new country. The show then continues to tell her family’s story until the present day, with her father, Luke, being the focal point of the story. The show alternates between story and song, with a small backing band and the La La Land choir accompanying, and most definitely enhancing, the performance of the story.
Michaela Burger is both gifted as a singer and storyteller, and those gifts shine in A Migrant’s Son. The show was full of achingly beautiful moments, with some of the more emotional points in the story eliciting tears from many members of the audience. There was also plenty of humour throughout the show, with Michaela displaying great comic timing with some of her family tales, especially with the impersonations of family members.
Despite being held in a big theatre, there was still an intimacy to the performance, and part of that was Michaela’s skill at relaying her family’s history. At times the story centred around family members that Michaela had not met, yet it appeared she had known them intimately and was relaying tales told to her first-hand. An oft-repeated line in the show is, “family is everything”, and it was clear that not only has Michaela’s father been a huge influence on her life, but her whole family has as well.
A Migrant’s Son is a moving portrait of one family’s multi-generational quest to overcome hardship and find success in a different land. Michaela Burger delivers the story of her family with poignancy and plenty of humour, and the feeling after the show that you now also know her family as well as she does. A Migrant’s Son is one show you should definitely see if you get the opportunity.
A Migrant’s Son season has ended.
By Tania Nicholas