Aug 9 2017 | By More

★★★★☆  Truthful

theSpace on North Bridge (Venue 36): Fri 4 – Fri 11 Aug 2017
Review by Hugh Simpson

Home, by Raised Voices at the Space on North Bridge, is a genuine, moving and vital piece of theatre.

Raised Voices provide creative writing and performance workshops for Edinburgh’s homeless community, and the cast is comprised of people who are or have been homeless. The play is based on their personal experiences and written by the performers and director George Williamson.

The cast of Home. Pic: Gavin Hill Photography

Performed in the somewhat incongruous setting of the Hilton Carlton Hotel, it is really a series of sketches – comic, tragic, and often both – around the central idea of a young man named Danny McGuire who is looking for a home of his own.

It all hangs together rather well, with music, comedy and pathos combining. Anyone worried about finding the subject too heavy should be reassured not only by the brevity of the show but the lightness of touch on display. While the topics are obviously considered seriously, they are done so with enough subtlety and grace to challenge the most firmly held prejudices.

A series of interviews about benefit sanctions, presided over by Lee Holland’s puppet mouthing the words of Ken Bridges’s DWP official, is all the more ridiculous and discomfiting because it is almost certainly verbatim theatre. A scene performed by Archie Gray and Kevin Kelly shows how easy it is to blame those who are different for society’s problems and how contradictory such arguments can be, in a much more subtle and economical way than many much longer works.

drive and commitment

There is a real drive and commitment from such clearly inexperienced performers. Colin Brown’s expansive housing officer and Sam Waylen’s defiant musician are impressive, while Scott Elder’s Danny is extremely strong in a conversation with Katie Greeney as his late mother. There is also an obvious ensemble feel to the production.

The music is also deftly used, with Gray and Williamson’s darkly comic Three-Step Hoedown punctuating the action, and Gary Walker’s rendition of Talking Heads’ This Must Be The Place demonstrating that David Byrne does sincerity as well as irony.

Raised Voices founder Blair Christie is a narrator figure, but in truth provides little more than support for stories that tell themselves.

Running time 45 minutes (no interval)
theSpace on North Bridge, North Bridge, EH1 1SD  (Venue 36)
Friday 4 – Friday 11 August 2017
Daily (not Sun) at 3.25 pm
Book tickets on the Fringe website: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/home

Raised Voices website: http://raisedvoices.org.uk/about/
Twitter: @raisedvoices_ed
Facebook: @raisedvoicesedinburgh


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