Boolyaka. The Noongar word for diarrhea is colloquially used to say that someone is a bit nervous.
Perth-raised entertainment polymath and self-confessed “washed-up ex-comedian”, Tim Minchin adopted the term to describe his feelings ahead of two sold-out Perth Festival performances this weekend at Kings Park with the WA Symphony Orchestra.
The homecoming shows draws on material from his prescient and “self-indulgent” major label debut album, Apart Together and will attract more than 10,000 fans — including members of his sprawling family.
“What I’m doing on Saturday night is getting up for the first time in a year and doing something I’ve never done before, which is playing an entire concert of not comic songs without any plans to talk, in front of 5000 people,” Minchin said at a media call at the State Theatre Centre of WA on Wednesday.
“I’m sort of s….ing myself.”
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The co-writer of hit musical Matilda said that while he left WA nearly 20 years ago to pursue his career, Perth will always be his Rottnest.
“It’s where I kick off my shoes and don’t put them back on again,” said the 45-year-old, who rocked up to the media call in thongs.
“I’m at my happiest in Perth.”
Minchin has spent longer than expected in his home town due to his concerts being pushed back a week to avoid short-lived COVID-19 restrictions.
“I had the horror of being stuck in Perth for six weeks,” he joked. “It’s awful — I’ve had to go to the beach every day.”
Minchin encouraged arts lovers to embrace this year’s WA-made festival.
“When you shut all the borders and just open your eyes, you find out all the stories are here,” he said.
The lockdown and subsequent return to stricter protocols forced Perth Festival to reschedule their entire program, which started on Tuesday rather than the original kick-off on February 5.
Second-year artistic director Iain Grandage said it took an “extraordinary effort” to move close to 150 productions, adding that it was an “immense joy” to speak to the media throng without wearing a mask.
Grandage got out his metaphorical bucket and spade to describe rescheduling an entire arts festival.
“Jiggery-pokery has happened, the sandcastle built on the banks of the Derbarl Yerrigan (Swan River) has been rebuilt thanks to many people inside and outside of the festival,” he said.
“We built a beautiful sandcastle, a massive tide came in and washed it away for a short period of time.
“And through the help of the government, sponsors and donors, we have managed to rebuild this festival of 144 events representing stories of WA.”
He said that the rejigging meant that more tickets have become available and encouraged West Aussies to see the cream of our local talent.
“Perth Festival 2021 is a love song to this place,” Grandage said. “It’s built by, for and with the people of WA.”
Highlights of Perth Festival, which runs to March 14, include the Noongar language dub of Bruce Lee kung fu classic movie Fist of Fury, singer-songwriter Rachael Dease’s Hymns for End Times with WASO and Perth Zoo takeover Wild Things.
Barking Gecko Theatre’s family-friendly festival offering HOUSE was initially meant to be staged in July last year, but finally premiered this week at the Heath Ledger Theatre.
Free festival event City of Lights, which illuminates the Perth Cultural Centre with stunning projections drawing on Noongar culture and WA history, began on Tuesday night.