From Where I'm Standing

A bomb explodes in the British Embassy in Mumbai. Meg’s dad, Adesh, who she hasn’t seen in a decade, is seen trying to run from the scene just before the bomb explodes, so she is hauled in front of the police for questioning. This story is interwoven with snapshot scenes both past and present; Adesh’s memories of his adolescence and growing political consciousness in school politics class; Meg’s future relationship with a man who has sworn to bring the world back together by shunning social media. Themes of parenthood, connectedness, rootlessness and political disillusionment are briefly flirted with but ultimately From Where I’m Standing comprises far less than the sum of its parts.

Early scenes show Meg’s father as a schoolboy in 1997 Southampton on the eve of the Blair election and the start of his relationship with goody two shoes girlfriend, Hannah, who will become Meg’s sole parent when Adesh skips the country either to find himself or to escape from British politics. Adesh’s frustrations with the Labour administration are never elaborated on after the first few scenes; his disillusionment seems to culminate in his part in the Mumbai bombings, however the character or story arc does not even begin to justify this, which makes for quite an unsatisfying ending.

The theme of connectedness and technology is picked up by the use of iPads as hospital monitors and TV screens, a clever touch illustrating the conundrum of modernity: we can stay in touch with people with a tap on a screen but rarely make physical contact any more.

:DELIRIUM: makes a point of emphasising their ‘explosive physicality’, so I was surprised not to see more creative uses of movement. Bar an effectively simple lift accompanied by a cannon firing paper to symbolise the bomb exploding, physicality is limited to twirling suitcases and finding ever more creative ways of getting out of bed. Some of this stage business was effective, some merely looked quite messy and pointless.

While the frenetic pace and interesting set aesthetics meant the show rattled along and didn’t drag, there was little emotional payoff accompanying the dramatic, bombastic events. The scene in which I felt most connected to the characters was Adesh’s conversation with a Welsh traveller, Kia, in the embassy line - though this sense of connection was woefully brief.

For a show illustrating the importance of keeping in touch, I felt strangely alienated.

Reviews by Laura Francis

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Performances

The Blurb

A story that must be told before it disappears forever. A stunning new play brought to life by :DELIRIUM:'s unique blend of explosive physicality and cinematic music. 'Innovative, stimulating theatrical risk-takers' (Kevin Spacey).

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