Directed & Co-created by Cameron Carver
Co-Creator & Sound Design by Jac Cooper
There’s always one. Sat alone at the bar, watching, taking in the journeys and stories of those surrounding them. But thing is that person sat night after night, well, they too have a story. Or rather, they have two tales to tell; one of Connor and another of Rob.
Fusing together a plethora of artforms – the simplicity of No Place Like Home lies in the strength it possesses in tying these communication and artistic methods together, none outshining or detracting from another. Video design, a cacophony of soundscapes and pop classics, and puppetry which imbues a cap with more personality than it ought, all work together to shape a touching story on the eternal quest for ‘home’, belonging and safe spaces for communities.
A story of queer romance, one of comedy and eventual tragedy, there’s an element of a venerable odyssey surrounding No Place Like Home – but with just a hint of glitter, tracksuits, and lashings of shots. On a night out in a gay bar, The Swallow, underaged Connor is having a tough time adjusting to his first experience in the venue when he locks eyes with Rob – a veteran of the scene looking for a way out.
This isn’t a traditional romance, though, as a kiss turns into violence. Blurring the line of victimhood and perpetrator, doing so with a deft understanding of the volatile nature surrounding club culture, No Place Like Home never vilifies its characters, even when the physicality and aggression push to intense and uncomfortable levels.
But where the punches lie is within the lyrical, almost spoken word, structure of the script. A superbly concise and well-written piece, No Place Like Home doesn’t need a shock to strike through to its audience, Alex Roberts turning in a mesmerically natural performance as both Connor and Rob – the individuality of characterisation vivid. Juxtaposed with his initial comedic portrayals, soft and engaging, before grappling with audiences as the once elated realm of security becomes a violent abyss where hate crime emerges at the heart of where many feel safest.
Don’t for one moment think that Roberts rests on the laurels of spoken word, however. No Place Like Home will leave audiences breathless. Both with sincerity and with its unwavering dedication to pop divas and dance moves. Intensely physical, with a naturalistic flow of rhythm, the synchronicity of movement and sound design is a commendable feature equally important as the writing.
As too is Virgine Taylor’s visual nature, which takes the kaleidoscopic neon of gay bars to the next level as this visual splendour of signifier shortcuts emboldens the movement, timed to perfection with Jac Cooper’s snap-second sound design. It all lands neatly for No Place Like Home, with a witty, authentic, and engaging charm that softens, but never condescends, the pain it expresses.
No Place Like Home runs at the Pleasance Dome, 10 Dome until August 29th (not 17th)
Tickets for which may be obtained here.