Adelaide Fringe Review 2021: Yer Old Faither

What: Yer Old Faither

Where: Middleback Arts Centre, Whyalla, or The Capri

Tickets: $20, concession from $15, available here

Dates: Sat 27/2 at the Capri, Fri 12/3 in Whyalla

Content warnings and accessibility: some nudity and birth scenes. Both venues are wheelchair accessible.

Fringe director Heather Croall‘s Yer Old Faither first premiered at the Adelaide Film Festival in 2020. Telling the story of Croall’s father, Dr. John Croall, a Glaswegian migrant to Whyalla, Yer Old Faither is exactly the sort of gentle, kind story needed in the catastrophic 2020s. 

It’s hard for a review of Yer Old Faither not to turn into a memorial for its subject, John Croall. An obstetrician who migrated from Glasgow to Australia with his family in search of sunshine, it is a familiar story of British migration. However, Croall is a particularly unusual figure: dedicating his life to delivering babies, secretly planting thousands of trees around Whyalla, and writing thousands of letters to family members and to politicians demanding action to support the town, Croall tread lightly on the earth. 

The documentary is made up of family videos, footage shot by Heather Croall over a number of years, animations, and interviews with John in his final days. The doco is well-made (the editing by Tania Nehme particularly strong), but it is it’s subject matter that makes this documentary so lovely. 

In an era where you need to take a deep breath before you turn on the news, stories about people like Croall – who are dedicated to a quiet life of service to their communities and to the planet – are more important than ever. 

3.5 stars – Brydie Kosmina

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