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Five stars

When a pair of fancy dress cops break up the onstage party instigated by American auteur Geoff Sobelle and an ever-expanding cast in his epic evocation of building a home from scratch, one could be forgiven for thinking it a nod to current civic thinking towards anything resembling fun. With lights strung across the auditorium to decorate assorted weddings, birthdays and other life-and-death shindigs, Sobelle’s creation becomes a mass housewarming to which we’re all invited.

By this time, Sobelle and his company of seven plus deep-fried crooner Elvis Perkins have constructed a piece of architectural magic, which sees the foundations of a des-res put in place by several generations of the house’s occupants. As a bedroom is seemingly conjured from thin air, we see children, mothers and lovers rise from their slumber to go about their days and nights.

With a fully functional kitchen and bathroom on the two slotted-together floors of Steven Dufala’s ingenious set, this allows for comic criss-crossing aplenty in Lee Sunday Evans’ dizzying production. The shower scene alone is timed as impeccably as anything patented in silent movie slapstick.

Things, however, are far from silent. As well as Perkins, who haunts the house like a wraith-like bar-room troubadour, a soundtrack by Edinburgh street-band Brass Gumbo leads all the revellers a merry dance.

Beyond the fun of co-opting volunteers from an audience to become all too willing guests, there is a poignancy to Sobelle and co’s extended study of human behaviour. To witness the assorted energies that are brought into a home by each individual adds a quiet ennui to the human chain who walk through it. As a new set of memories are packed away, they leave an empty space to be filled with fresh blood even as they go on to pick up more baggage elsewhere.

The Herald, August 25th 2018

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