MacRobert Arts Centre, Stirling 3 stars Take a child away from home for long enough and put them in an insecure situation, and chances are they'll create their own world just to protect themselves with the power of their imaginations alone. So it is with Star, the ten year old north African asylum seeker who lives with her mother in a damp and run-down Glasgow high-rise. With the constant threat of deportation coming via a knock on the door at dawn, Star finds comfort in mythical tales from home and Dog Man, a Calvin and Hobbes style imaginary friend with a nice line in sweary words that help keep the nightmares away. AJ Taudevin's play is produced in association with the Scottish Refugee Council and the Tron Theatre, Glasgow, where it plays for two nights this weekend to open Scottish Refugee Week. It may initially look like a piece of up to the minute kitchen-sink social realism, with neighbours hanging out on the balconies of Clare Halleran's set and social workers at the door, but Catrin Evans' production soon takes things into stranger waters. Not all of this works, it must be said, and at times during the play's seventy-five minutes things become very confusing indeed. Shvorne Marks as Star nevertheless captures how a child's displacement can transform wide-eyed wonder to a fear so great that she won't allow herself to unpack her suitcase in case she's forced to leave. There's fine support too from Joy Elias-Rilwan as Mama, Billy Mack and Pauline Knowles in a play which, despite its self-conscious and largely unnecessary oddness, highlights the continuing shame of an inhumane system.
The Herald, June 14th 2013 ends