So Much Myself: Piano Portraits shines new light on archival footage of memorable women

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Adelaide Festival had its sole performance of So Much Myself: Piano Portraits last night at the Adelaide Town Hall. A joint project between composer Robert Davidson and pianist Sonya Lifschitz, So Much Myself: Piano Portraits is the follow-up to their previous Adelaide Festival show Stalin’s Piano which received much acclaim.

So Much Myself: Piano Portraits

Both Sonya and David each introduce the show. Sonya Liftschitz, who we interviewed (read the interview here), explains that for someone trained in the classic tradition, it’s very exciting to be able to work with a living composer. David explains that he listened to the melody and rhythm of the speech of the women chosen for So Much Myself: Piano Portraits and that we are all composers. For example, he says that Julia Gillard speaks in D Flat Major.


So Much Myself: Piano Portraits is divided into 5 parts. Each part and the sections within it contain both audio from the woman featured along with archival video footage and the composition that Robert Davidson has composed for Sonya Lifschitz to play. The composition is inspired by the tone and message of those speeches. There are also parts which are deeply personal for Sonya Lifschitz, including those in which she tells the story of her grandmother escaping Kyiv when the Nazis invaded and bombarded the towns, and the video footage of her grandmother and her great-Aunt telling their own story, and amusing the audience with their childhood anecdotes of sibling rivalry. Sadly, the images of war-torn Ukraine from the Nazi invasion are strikingly similar to those filling our screens now almost 90 years on.


We found it quite jarring at first when phrases were repeated over and over even though we understood this was serving the purpose of a chorus in a song. However, we soon adjusted to the repetition and by the time it came to Julia Gillard’s now famous misogyny speech were celebrating the repeated words. Similarly, there were times when it seemed that the piano overpowered out the voice of the person selected and then at others we were so immersed in the video and the voice of the woman that the piano fell into the backgruond.


These musical portraits range from female composers who were sisters to their better-known brother composers, Mozart and Schumann to women in a range of fields who are still alive, Patti Smith, Malouma, Greta Thunberg. We even go further back to Europe’s first playwright since antiquity, Hrotsvit, and her 10th century play of which Sonya Lifschitz performs all of the characters while playing the piano.

So Much Myself: Piano Portraits
Image: Tony Lewis Marie Curie also features in So Much Myself: Piano Portraits

Sometimes the multi-media portraits selected lead perfectly into the next, at other times we are unsure of the connection from one to the other but there doesn’t necessarily need to be one. This is not a complete history of women’s views on x or y, or women in the fields of a or b. The piano compositions range from quite light in nature to dramatic depending on the subject matter being spoken about at the time. Sonya Lifschitz was not only a joy to listen to but she was also fascinating to watch as she played. Her passion for the music and the project was palpable. She would sometimes dramatically nod her head as she played particularly dramatic compositions.


In So Much Myself: Piano Portraits, what Davidson and Lifschitz have created is a powerful composition of both video, voice and piano with a few powerful messages to take home and ruminate on beyond the performance. They send the audience home with that message without being preachy.  There is also comedy within the performance coming from some of the speeches. Frida Kahlo speaking about the frog-like bulging eyes of her Diego for example, or Nina Simone (from whom the title of the performance comes) speaking about taking a gun into a restaurant to try to get paid.  The audience laughed loudly on those occasions.


So Much Myself: Piano Portraits is a carefully woven tapestry of women’s voices which will take you on a journey of discovery, amusement and reflection.


Matilda Marseillaise was a guest of Adelaide Festival


The Adelaide Festival season of So Much Myself: Piano Portraits has now concluded. If you get a chance to see this show in another city, we strongly recommend you do.


More Adelaide Festival content

Messa da Requiem: a feast for the senses

The Cage Project: piano as you’ve never heard it before

Cédric Tiberghien is coming to Australia for recitals and the world premiere of The Cage Project

So Much Myself: Piano Portraits at Adelaide Festival tells a millennium of stories celebrating discovery and courage



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Bourgeois & Maurice: Pleasure Seekers is satirical fun at Adelaide Fringe

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Colourful zany costumes, satirical songs sung in harmony, interpretative dance moves, and a night of fun is what you’ll find at Bourgeois & Maurice: Pleasure Seekers at Adelaide Fringe 2023.

Bourgeois and Maurice call themselves “strange singing siblings, from another dimension”. Georgeois Bourgeois is the fictional brother to his fictional sister Maurice Maurice. They told us in an interview that they live by the maxim “more is more… and then add more” and Pleasure Seekers proves that they truly are. Their makeup is bright and is a mash-up of 80s colours and shapes reminiscent of bird plumage, Kiss and Bowie. And just as the make-up is exaggerated so too are the wonderfully weird costumes which are revealed throughout Pleasure Seekers. These are bright, colourful and OTT. Maurice Maurice’s bouffant is dizzyingly high.


Having had too many bad meals and watched too much bad TV during England’s long COVID-19 lockdown, Georgeois Bourgeois tells us he started to experience the life of a heterosexual. Now that lockdowns are over and borders are open, Bourgeois and Maurice are on a quest for pleasure and they’re taking you with them.


Pleasure Seekers takes us on a journey of songs about topics such as wanting some meat after “swallowing the same old aubergine too long” when going vegan, starting a war on babies “we can’t keep accepting immigrants from the womb”, consumerism and the evil of Amazon. They also explore the metaverse, what they’d each do in an alternative life and a more existential questioning of the point of their lives.


Bourgeois & Maurice have written almost all of the songs performed in Pleasure Seekers and they are extremely witty, sharp satire addressing some of life’s issues. They’re great ear worms and you’ll find yourself singing the choruses well after the show. While the songs from the Pleasure Seekers show haven’t yet been released, you can listen to the back catalogue of their past 15 years of shows on their website and your preferred music streaming platform.


Bourgeois & Maurice Pleasure Seekers was also awarded the Week 3 Best Cabaret Award at Adelaide Fringe 2023 and we can see why. A hidden gem, away from the larger Fringe venues. You’ll find them at the Empire Cabaret Theatre at the Wonderland Festival Hub in Hindmarsh Square. Only 4 shows remain: at 8:15pm tonight, Thursday, and tomorrow, Friday, and 10pm Saturday and Sunday.


Matilda Marseillaise was a guest of Adelaide Fringe.



WHAT: Bourgeois & Maurice: Pleasure Seekers

WHERE:  Empire Cabaret Theatre at Wonderland Festival Hub, Hindmarsh Square, ADELAIDE

WHEN: The show is on the following dates:

  • Thursday 9 March – Friday 10 March 8:15pm
  • Saturday 11 March – Sunday 12 March 10pm

HOW: Purchase your tickets via this link:

HOW MUCH: Ticket prices (exclusive of booking fees) are as follows:

  • Adult $45
  • Concession $40
  • Bank SA Cardholder $33.75
  • Fringe members 2 4 1 tickets $45 for two
  • Double Your Applause Admit 1 – $90



For Adelaide Fringe shows with French links, check out our article here.

Love on the Left Bank is a show of French chanson like no other

Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil) inspires a dance performance based on the poetry of Baudelaire

Carmen the cabaret offers a different perspective on opera’s femme fatale

A Night at the Musicals 3: Summer Lovin’ Tour with Le Gateau Chocolat and Jonny Woo is a must-see this Adelaide Fringe

The Party, the new show from Strut & Fret, is no Blanc de Blanc

Louise McCabe will present A Night to Baguette at Adelaide Fringe next month

Les Commandos Percu Silence! is a must-see show this Adelaide Fringe – last chance tonight

Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil) based on the poetry of Baudelaire is a new dance show coming to Adelaide Fringe

In Carmen the Cabaret, Eliane Morel ponders if Carmen is a femme fatale why does she die?

Les Commandos Percus bring their show Silence! to Adelaide Fringe 2023


Find more events with French and Francophone links in our What’s on in March 2023?



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