Dear Home Office (3 stars)

This article is from 2016

Dear Home Office

credit: Phosphoros Theatre

Phosphoros Theatre's show tells home truths

A vivid and touching exploration of what home means, eight refugee boys from as far across the continents as Afghanistan and Somalia share their compelling testimonies using rhyme, dance, music and little sketches.

The stories are sometimes heart-rending, such as when one was interrogated for seemingly looking older than sixteen; being sent back and forth over Europe like pinballs,or being interrogated in prison with seventy people. Sometimes the stories are funny, as with the Primark shopping session where the lads have their own ideas on what jackets to wear. Above all they are just ordinary boys with goals – cheeky, stubborn or shy, coming over to Britain to work or study. They have been forced to move here, but the bond they now have together is unbreakable.

Voices blur, and Kate Duffy, their Applied Theatre practitioner who manages the house where most stay, appears on stage with them, acting as various characters in their lives. She suggests we refer to them collectively as 'Tariq', as Tariq represents the everyman, he is all of them and anyone struggling to survive in an uncertain terrain. The dance sequences may not be slick, but they're full of energy, and imaginatively staged.

Towards the end of the piece, the absurdity of Alice In Wonderland style justice is evocative, the films of the boys settling in for Christmas away from families and marvelling over snow deeply poignant, and it takes a hard heart to resist. These accounts are far too important to be kept secret.

Underbelly Med Quad, until 28 Aug, 12.15 pm, £8–£9 (£7–£8).

Dear Home Office

  • 3 stars

Play created by young refugee men from Afghanistan, Albania, Ertitrea and Somalia.