‘Soldier’s Wife’ was performed at the Brisbane Powerhouse (10 June) as part of the 2017 Queensland Cabaret Festival.
It involved five, very talented women taking to the stage to perform music inspired by the wonderfully strong women they had met during the past three years and wanted to pay tribute to. For the musicians have met and spoken with several partners of defence members who have served in conflicts both past and present.
Equipped with only amped-up guitars and their own powerful voices, Roz Pappalardo, Jackie Marshall, Emma Bosworth, Kristy Apps and Deb Suckling filled the theatre with music, ever the consummate live artists.
Performing in the intimate Visy Theatre there were many in the audience connected to the songs who had travelled far to be there. Others who recognised enough of their own experiences in the songs to be visibly moved, with either tears being shed or supporting hands reaching out to comfort loved ones.
These moments were heartfelt and a privilege to witness as the musicians performing on stage clearly had produced these songs as a labour of love to these extraordinary women and their families.
The five singers had a terrific rapport with the audience and each other. They noted several times they often do shows longer than the one hour they had at the Festival; one wonders what it would be like to see them perform in a pub with more of the banter they shared between songs.
Two songs on the night stood out and, perhaps coincidentally, they were about the songwriter's own personal history. There was ‘Margaret’ penned by Kristy Apps about her mother discovering more about her own father.
The other was about Roz Pappalardo’s grandmother who worked at the train station where returning Italian soldiers would be offloaded in Sicily. Roz’s grandfather was an Italian POW during the war and would wait several years before being able to get word home about his whereabouts.
Roz singing about her grandmother looking for her grandfather every day at the train station was a powerful closer to a show that was all about powerful, live performances and heart-rendering tales.