This is an excoriating, disturbing and intense hour of theatre in the round, and it highlights the desperate plight of refugees in a hard-hitting and unforgettable way.
Three actors play the role of a family who are ‘found by war’ and graphically portray their plight as war comes to their unnamed home and gradually but inexorably tears their lives apart. The language is clipped, passionate and at times staccato-like, echoing the gunfire and shelling sound effects that erupt with heart-stopping intensity.
The gradual slide into chaos is hauntingly drawn as we move from playful childish bickering between siblings into intense, ferocious shouts and screams as an ordinary family is caught up in an ever-intensifying spiral of violence, and shocking details of rape and torture unfold. It is often very uncomfortable to watch, as the players catch your eyes and talk directly to you as an audience member. The emotional, psychological and physical effects of having to uproot yourself from your home are highlighted with a dark, crystal clarity in this powerful performance.
With the circling, menacing character of an interrogative narrator, the empty and chilling rhetoric of governments both abroad and ‘at home’ is exposed for the sham that it is, and the clash in values with the clear desperation of the family engulfed by war and forced to flee from one city to another, and ultimately forced to cross the border of their war-ravaged country is stark.
At the end of the piece, the voice of another refugee who has stood witness to all of this in silence speaks quietly and eloquently about their own plight, and as a whole this dark and troubling piece of theatre speaks to us of the dehumanising effect not only of the war, but of the treatment of refugees by the people they had hoped to find help and simple human understanding from.
This is raw, emotional and poignant theatre, and the images and language stay with you long after you have left the theatre and walked through your peaceful city streets to your warm, safe home. It is all the more powerful as the performances come from British based refugee actors who still face an uncertain future here. You cannot fail but to think of your own family in such a situation, and then think of how what you hoped would be a place of welcome, warmth and safety would treat you.
4 stars ★★★★
Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th November 7.30pm
Edinburgh The Out of the Blue Drill Hall 36 Dalmeny Street EH6 8RG
£10/£8 0131 555 7100 www.outoftheblue.org.uk