There’s no place like home

THEATRE
“Destination Home”
The Street Theatre, until season closed
Reviewed by Helen Musa

THIS project, conceived over 18 months by Camilla Blunden, Liliana Bogatko, Raoul Cramer and Noonee Doronila in the “verbatim theatre” style, involves storytelling and conversation.

Four well-known Canberra theatre personalities, all immigrants to this country, reveal their thoughts about the concept of “home”.

Some of the stories are simple – education, making and keeping friends, marriage, and parenthood. Some are complex – divided cultural origins, escape from repression.

Played out on Gillian Schwab’s evocative set of cardboard, suitcases and plastic chairs arranged as a waiting room, the  “play” has been directed surely by Barb Barnett, who varies the pace, movement and spatial relationships to help bring the content to life.

She is partially successful. The first part is dominated by simple, compelling storytelling as the four actors explain how they came to be here. We learn about friendship, about colours, about food, about longing for fields of daffodils and mushrooms, and about the strange, alien aspects of Australia. Are old Australians coldly chauvinist or are they warm and friendly? Both views are presented.

But “Destination Home” doesn’t quite know where to end. When the actors move from storytelling to analysis and over-stagey “conversation”, the relaxed atmosphere becomes strained and talky. And as the actors eyeball us with sincerity, their words seem disingenuous.

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