Temper Theatre’s Home is an environmental displacement, family and imagination. The ensemble of five leads the audience through a young girl's return to her family home, the journey wrought with magical possibility and imminent danger. Imogen must address her painful past and rediscover the ever-present light inside, expressed by the whole team through dynamic movement and a rich audiovisual experience. Home is a delicately constructed tale that refuses to waste words in its richly layered and physical approach.

Home is a delicately constructed tale that refuses to waste words in its richly layered and physical approach

From the beginning, the audience was bombarded by a sense of sheer terror as the evacuated sought refuge and Imogen emerged amidst sirens and a sharp spotlight. Home was already a distant memory engulfed in chaos, with a skull horse head and fragmenting bodies taking us further from any picturesque possibility. We were afforded glimpses into the family dynamics, with characters at times miming in partial synchronicity to the soundscape, communicating with tender and defined gestures that interwove with complex physical sequences. The threat of an impending flood – and its capacity to destroy all sense of stability and family history, begins to divide the nuclear unit as beautifully orchestrated arguments unfold. A broken bridge, an ongoing conversation, children crawling and exploring through magical, untouched wetlands. Hints of meaning emerge, and then are wiped way by fresh emotional streams that capture memory as never quite complete.

The company’s exploration of youthful hedonism as a means of escape, juxtaposed the pits of alcoholism, was especially moving. The white snake-like puppet protruding from Imogen’s nostril served as an apt symbol of mental illness, and I loved the way it was reappropriated as a source of joy and creativity in the final stages of the show. Imogen’s desire to forget the past and embrace a pleasure-oriented present, contrasted to her father’s insatiable grief and worsening addiction, captured a relationship of care and obligation that was really heartbreaking.

Home felt complete accompanied by an exceptional set and entrancing score. Objects emerged from a perpetually smoky darkness, disappearing again at the hands of a seamless ensemble. The ancestral home, and the way in which it ultimately split, coupled with the sound of pouring rain and thunder, sat at the heart of this story. It was striking to peek into the inner workings of this family through open windows, and watch the structure flipped into various unstable forms, both evoking euphoria and a profoundly naturalistic terror. Amidst an exceptional soundscape, the use of lighting to portray Imogen’s deeply anxious experience of her new home evinced a sadness in the room, while the walls closed in on her as the spotlight focussed.

The circularity to this plot transformed the experience of intense shared suffering into hope. Amidst the awful effects of climate change and loss, the magical forest of childhood and imagination lies waiting to be explored again.

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Reviews by William Leckie

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Mama Biashara
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The Blurb

As the flood rises, Imogen is swept up in a fantastical wave of self-discovery, unlocking a new perspective on the place she once called home. This new production is a heart-warming story of memory, imagination and parenthood. 'Blazingly sincere' (Guardian). 'This energetic new show from Temper Theatre is storytelling in action' (Scotsman). Find your way back home with Temper Theatre's latest production, combining their signature blend of fluid, muscular movement, soul-shaking soundscapes and evocative imagery, accompanied by original music composed by Dave Price (National Theatre, Gecko). **** (Herald). ***** (Outlier).

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