Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Stowaway

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
Four stars

It's the strangest sensation, coming into land on an international jet plane, in a limbo that's neither one place or the other. This is even more the case in Hannah Barker and Lewis Hetherington's elliptical study of what happens before and after an Indian stowaway falls from a Heathrow-bound flight from Dubai into the car park of a suburban branch of B&Q.

In the first half we see the effects of such a shocking incident on Lisa, the writer who was sat inches above the young man on her way home from a book tour, and on Andy, the newly redundant man who witnessed the fall. Both are traumatised enough for it to affect their everyday lives, with the dead man Aditya scurrying about Lisa, Andy and Andy's partner Debbie like a ghost in search of release.

What at first looks like a sea of first world problems in Barker and Hetherington's production for the Analogue company in association with the New Wolsey Theatre and the Easterhouse-based Platform organisation flips back across continents to explore the roots of Aditya's doomed plight. As actors Devesh Kishore, Steven Rae, Balvunder Sopal and Hannah Donaldson clamber about Rhys Jarman's scaffolding-based set, it is here the complicity between corporate property developers and construction companies exploiting poor workers wanting to take flight to better lands is made explicit.

It is the backs of ambitious but poverty stricken runaways like Aditya that shiny new cities are built on in this serious and stylistically playful navigation between two worlds in a show that lays bare the heartbreak of such unnecessary fatalities even as it questions its own right to exist.

The Herald, March 22nd 2016

ends

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