Home at the Shed
It is a brave person that takes a cultural issue so poignant and politically relevant in Britain today and puts it on the stage – and not just any stage, but The Shed at the iconic National Theatre.
Based on over 30 hours of interviews, Home is a verbatim play about life in an East End hostel Target, housing over 210 homeless young people. Writer and director Nadia Fall was inspired to create Home after observing the rapid and negative portrayal of young people in Britain following the summer riots of 2011. Having experienced the marginalisation of young people first-hand through 15 years of working in numerous participatory projects involving music, drama, and creative writing, Fall wanted give the forgotten youth a voice amid the evolving spin woven within the media and parliamentary walls. And she achieves just that.
Notwithstanding that as a literal play every phrase uttered is a phrase taken from the reels of interviews Fall conducted, Home is as real a piece of theatre that you will ever have the pleasure of seeing. The acting is sublimely emotive, exposing currents of doubt, fear and frustration that come from dealing with a hard knock life in a country that is ever more becoming a tough nut to crack. The issues are authentic; there’s a misguided racist who frenzies about an immigrant takeover in England, a pandemic stretching to every English coast and beyond – “everyone who is not English is bleeding the country dry…” he erupts. There’s the traumatic account of a refugee’s indigenous life and the sexual molestation she suffered on her passage to Britain. And the controversy is genuine: sweeping myths about girls becoming pregnant to secure council properties are exposed as untrue. We learn that councils pay deposits to private landlords who offer little security in long-term housing and how draconian cuts to benefits and youth services are pushing people further into a life of homelessness and destitution, creating “another poster boy for David Cameron’s Broken Britain.” It makes you wonder what ever happened to the concept of a “Big Society” and whether being out of sight and out of mind was always the preferred policy of the day.
However, Fall’s play is not at all sombre and grim. It is wonderfully lively theatre, interwoven with individual stories, flashes of humour and injections of popular music, not forgetting Grace Savage’s unique and outstanding beatboxing talent, which all add light and shade to this very political, very modern play.
After sell-out performances last year, Home returns to The Shed for a short time only, so if you would like to see this critically-acclaimed play, act fast.
Photo: Ellie Kurttz
Home is at The Shed until 30th April 2014. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.
Watch the trailer for Home here: