Blowing his whistle

Feature by Lorna Frost | 20 Aug 2011
  • Whistle

Martin Figura’s confrontation of his family skeletons in Whistle is a tour de force. The poet eases us in, recounting the love story of his mother and father. We are amused and jog along, enjoying the tale of domestic bliss, with the father-built genuine stone fireplace in the suburban cement villa, an intimidating big sister and our hero’s school prowess at maths and problems with pens. Then Martin masterfully puts the knife in.

Suddenly we are plunged into another world of horror, heartache and suffering, a world that had been referred to but which we thought, we hoped, had been left behind in the war.

His story abounds in rich sounds, and luscious images, like the peach on the plate desired by his mother and our hero’s sneaky, stolen butty.The vintage slide show created by Andre Barreau and designer Karen Hall uses family photos, archive and original graphics in a way which complements the poetry, illustrating and subtly counterpointing, never dominating, the words.

Martin’s delivery is perfect. Assured and understated, it increases the impact of the rollercoaster drama of his life and helps us transcend the violence and pain of our own.



until 29 Aug 2011 1.45pm