This is Where We Live

This moving piece of new writing from Vivienne Walshe follows two teenagers trapped in their own versions of hell, who find the route to escapism in each other. In its exploration of teenage sexuality, the script explores both the intense passion and intense awkwardness of young love in a way which is as profound as it is hilarious.

This Is Where We Live achieves the impressive feat of producing insightful emotional realism from highly stylised writing, and does so with a vibrancy which makes for compelling viewing.

The uniquely poetic writing style used in This Is Where We Live feels forced at times. The overuse of onomatopoeic utterances (‘cough cough’; ‘crunch crunch’; ‘pad pad’) to describe actions of both invisible others and the characters themselves is rather juvenile, and creates a distance between audience and characters in what is otherwise a very intimate production. Although the writing is interspersed with skilfully developed moments of comedy, the writing at times verges rather too close to cliché. The two teenage lovers are somewhat stereotypical in their polarity: there is the obstinate Chloe (Shaelee Rooke) “from the underworld” who must deal with bullies an abusive home and sensitive “odd boy” Chris (Oliver de Rohan) from an archetypally bourgeois family.

However, as the play progresses it utterly subverts the rather glib romantic comedy it risks becoming. It is as though the character of Chloe outgrows the script, and brings it with her into the realm of a much more maturely told, tragic tale. As the writing comes into its own, so too do the performers. Rooke’s portrayal of Chloe’s development is utterly captivating, and well complemented by Rohan’s controlled performance. The play and the actors are most definitely at their strongest when dealing with the heated mixture of violence, thrill and sadness. Domestic violence is powerfully portrayed through the shattering of long silences with explosions of beautiful poetry. Walshe should also be praised for not shying away from exploring the problematic complexity of the relationship between abuser and abused.

This Is Where We Live achieves the impressive feat of producing insightful emotional realism from highly stylised writing, and does so with a vibrancy which makes for compelling viewing. 

Reviews by Megan Dalton

Summerhall

Light Killer

★★★
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House of Tragic She

★★★
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

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★★★★
Assembly George Square Studios

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Hardened from a life filled with bullies, Mum's deadbeat boyfriends and no sense of hope, Chloe uses her sexuality as her armour and weapon. Chris's sexuality is utterly under used. Always on the wrong side of cool, he's living a very different version of hell. But when odd boy Chris meets Chloe from the underworld, an intense connection is formed. Suddenly, a different life seems possible. Winner of the 2012 Griffin Award, This is Where We Live is a love story that conjures Orpheus leading his Eurydice out from the underworld of small town hell.