Review: Home, National Theatre

“You don’t know whether to go out and say something…or…or not”

Returning to the Shed after a successful run last year, Nadia Fall’s Home is a compelling piece of verbatim theatre, stitched together by an exciting company – many of whom have returned from the original cast – who guide us through the changing, complex world of Target East, a refuge for young homeless people in London. The centre may be fictional but the issues and incidents raised here are anything but.

The need for security, a place where they can feel protected, is common to all the residents here, some just passing through, others destined to stay a bit longer and the staff committed to their thankless tasks just as long as the funding holds out. Fall deliberately crashes narratives into each other, the chaos of life for many of these people reflected in the way their stories get told, echoes of similar experiences creeping through just as much as the stark differences.

Toby Wharton’s uber-British Tattoo Boy rages with a fiercely incredible nationalistic anti-immigrant rant but he’s instantly juxtaposed with Antonia Thomas’ Eritrean refugee, horrifically sexually abused whilst trying to seek asylum here. And in the staff body, Ashley McGuire’s beautifully pragmatic hostel manager Sharon is contrasted with the smugness of Danny Sapani’s key worker, fully sure that his presence alone means he has a connection with his charges, unaware of just how disengaged he really is.

Music from Shakka and Tom Green is used brilliantly throughout to infuse a contemporary urgency, matched by Grace Savage’s superb beatboxing, and the whole combines into a devastating snapshot of society’s margins. One is uplifted by the resilience that many manage to bring to bear but the searching truth of the coda hits home hard and makes a strong case for a reassessment of where the coalition’s cuts have had the most devastating effect on society. 

Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes (with interval)
Booking until 30th April

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