Review: Kevin Kropinyeri Goes Talkabout
By Tabitha Lean
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mindshare is a creative community and online mental health publication. Reflections are by mindshare writers with lived experience of mental illness, specifically critiquing through a mental health lens. Content may contain triggering themes.
Kevin Kropinyeri is laugh out loud funny. I mean it. He’s your funny Uncle at a BBQ. The one who plays with all the kids and makes your old Aunties laugh. He’s the Uncle you hope will turn up to every family gathering because you are guaranteed a belly laugh. And it’s exactly that energy that Kev brought to his latest show, and I loved it.
I loved it because it was Blak and deadly! It was a ‘proppa’ Blakfulla yarn, and I laughed the whole way through. I laughed at his take on our mob, at his impressions of us Blak women and our aunties, at his dance moves, at his facials (those wide eyes Unc, true) and I laughed at his recounts of mob life.
But Kevin is not just a comedian, he’s a master storyteller. He skilfully wove the most beautiful and heart-breaking tales from his life and childhood into the evening and did it in such a way that it lifted hearts and filled Blak fullas with pride. I mean, Kevin made sadness bright, and despair hopeful. He made pain look beautiful and survival seem inevitable. And in a surprise to my cynical soul, Kevin made forgiveness appear possible.
When I heard stories from his childhood or about his days in prison, I could not only relate, I could feel every word. As a woman who has been inside and is now finding her place on the outside, I looked at him and thought, if Uncle can do it, so can I. And amidst the laughter and tears (happy ones), I found peace. His show was like coming home (‘my people, my people’). I felt his arms wrapped around every one of us, black and white, and I felt both visible and seen. And let me tell you, there is immense power in seeing your family and mob represented in these festival spaces.
And for any of you non-Aboriginal mob wondering if you will get this deadly Blak humour – Yes!!! Kev is inclusive and he’s loving and I highly recommend you get around it. Because this brother is soaring the highest heights and it was an honour to be in his light last night.
Thanks Uncle. It was the belly laugh I needed. You are brilliant. You are solid and you are deadly.