Sydney Festival Review: In Between Two – Bay 20, Carriageworks (Performances until January 24th)

A premiere show for the Sydney Festival, In Between Two sees two Australian musicians, TZU’s Joelistics and Sietta’s James Mangohig, overlap their stories as mixed-race Asian Australians in Australia’s hip hop culture. Sharing family photos and tales from their heritage, the two share a basic commonality, however their histories couldn’t be more different.

Joelistics happily tells the story of his Grandmother Edie, who ran Sydney’s infamous nightclub Chequers in the 60s and lived in a mansion with her husband, children and lover for decades, while Mangohig lovingly shares tales of growing up to a Dutch mother and Phillipino father in his father’s church in Darwin. While sharing the ups and downs, the heartbreak and the happiness, the two friends discuss what it means to be of mixed race in contemporary Australia, and how they both found solace in music.

With a Sydney Festival so full of theatrics and scripted stories, this, along with other Festival favourite All The Sex I’ve Ever Had, shows that real stories told by real people are always more profound and more powerful than fiction or metaphor. While the presentation of their stories at points took on a bit of a slide show, it didn’t diminish the passion with which they were told, nor the captive nature of the audience throughout.

With the stage strung with musical instruments, it’s a shame they were really not used to full effect. It may have been interesting to see the format alter slightly to become more of a cabaret with the inclusion of more songs, but nevertheless it’s an enjoyable and significant work.

In Between Two is part of the Sydney Festival’s About an Hour program. Its final performances are tonight at 6.30pm & 9.15pm. Head HERE for more details.

The reviewer attended the performance on Friday, January 22nd at 9pm. 

Photo by Prudence Upton / Sydney Festival