Saturday, June 25, 2022



And Then You Go – The Vali Myers Project. 

Devised and directed by Victoria Falconer. Frank Ford Commission. Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Space Theatre. Adelaide Festival Theatre. June 24-25 2022.

Reviewed by Peter Wilkins

We peer intently in search of our seats in the dimly lit shadows of the Space Theatre at the Adelaide Festival Centre. There is an air of mystery, a sense of unusual expectation. On the floor between the colourful circles of light flame-haired  performers in the dress of Eastern European gypsies welcome audience with their conversation. A wolf boy, wild and abandoned leaps through the auditorium, occasional emitting the unrestrained yelp. Raised on the stage the musicians wait while above them on the screen images of the art work and writings of Vali Myers conjure a spirit world. We are cast back to another time, a time of strolling players, outsiders and free willed creators of their art.

Vali Myers

And Then You Go – The Vali Myers Project is a new and highly original work created, composed and performed by award winning musician and artist Victoria Falconer and inspired by twentieth century cult figure Vali Myers. With the aid of the Frank Ford commission for emerging and innovative artists Falconer has devised an intriguing multi-disciplinary and visceral account of the life of the uniquely creative Vali Myers. The performers all assume the character of Myers at various times in her life. One of them performs the contemporary dance, swaying with Dionysian liberation, a spirit unconfined by conformity. At other times she plays the flute, while other performers also weave an hypnotic spell of choral work, music and dance as they display Myers' chimera. Falconer has composed a score and set Myers words to music and the song of her soaring, unrestrained spirit. In a storytelling circle, the performers give an account of Myers life with occasional choral unison to avoid the recitation of fact. This is less effective except in the choreographed ritualistic conclusion to the narrative.

Victoria Falconer
 Falconer makes no attempt to construct a real and linear narrative. That would be contrary to the spontaneous creative passion that lures Myers from her bushland home to the artistic inspiration of Paris’s Left Bank to the idyllic charm of Positano and eventually back to Melbourne. Sartre, Dali, Tennessee Williams, Joni Mitchell and Andy Warhol all passed through her life, feeding her imagination and nurturing her artistic soul. These are the snippets of information that inform our understanding of Falconer’s fascinating and alluring Myers. And it is the fascination and the allure that is so captivating in this work.  We are fascinated by the psychedelic and mood-filled seduction of the lighting. The eclectic nature of the music and song channels the mercurial life force of this woman of the bush, a disciple of Nature, a lover of animals and her beloved Foxy and a woman whose practical view of existence coexisted with a palette of rich, unconfined and expressive experience.

 Her life’s metaphor is played out by a bare breasted aerialist, a creature of Nature who climbs the rope in an attempt to live her dreams, only to return from the sky to the dust, having lived a life “burning fast and burning bright.”, unconcerned with what people might think or say, and living life her way. And Then You Go – The Vali Myers Project is an experiential glimpse at the life of a woman who lived without fear and followed her passion and her dream. I have no programme to single out the exceptional musicians or the names of individual performers. Falconer is central to the work and guides the work through momentary impressions. The work still needs dramatic scrutiny. It is at times too repetitive, such as the scene with the rescued fox or the dance. The transitions need to be tighter so that the narrative can be clearer to avoid momentary confusion. There is such talent and such fascination in this commission that skilful dramaturgy could enhance.

On the wall outside the space, the company has displayed a time chart of Myers’ life interspersed with photos of a strikingly beautiful and fascinating woman and copies of her writings and philosophy on life. It is intriguing viewing and a necessary complement to a performance that is more about touching the human spirit than relating the incidents of her life. And Then You Go – The Vali Myers Project illuminates and intrigues, a commission well worth its support and worthy of further development and performance to a wider audience..