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No Place Like Home at Pleasance Dome – Edinburgh Fringe

A rapid switch of Alex Roberts’ baseball cap from back to front, together with an appropriate change of pitch and accent, are all that is required for both sides of a conversation to be performed. When it transpires that Connor, a young and impressionable gay man, wants to use a nightclub to seek friendships, I couldn’t help but be somewhat bemused – quite rightly, there’s a scene in which he tries to strike up a conversation but struggles to be heard above the noise (sorry, music) of the nightclub. But the production suggests that there aren’t that many places in any event for gay people to be themselves without inhibition.

No Place Like Home, Courtesy of Chloe Nelkin Consulting.
No Place Like Home, Courtesy of Chloe Nelkin Consulting.

I would have thought that if anything should happen to someone at a nightclub, by default there would be plenty of witnesses. Then again, ‘everyone’ (inverted commas mine) is doing their thing, dancing away or otherwise just enjoying themselves, and when alcohol and (let’s face it, a nightclub is a nightclub) drugs are being consumed, it’s also entirely possible that something could happen and very few people, if anyone at all, could be an entirely reliable witness.

Video projections help to create a clubby atmosphere: the music is loud but never (thankfully) gets as uncomfortably thunderous as it would in an actual nightclub. Connor comes across Rob, who works at the club – things start off so euphorically that at some point I realised that the happiness wasn’t going to be sustained. Either that, or this would turn out to be a rather one-dimensional production, and it’s far from that.

In some ways, the narrative feels familiar, which is rather sad, because it demonstrates the relative commonality of the darker aspects of the story. On the other hand, there can’t be that many people who would wear a dress like that of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz underneath their nightclub attire, something only revealed by way of a stripping competition. It’s a highly physical performance, and Roberts has seemingly boundless energy. The trepidation on Connor’s part as he tries to find his way in a novel and unfamiliar environment for him is just as palpable as Rob’s heady confidence and experience.

Thanks to the nightclub setting and a journey that ends in brutality, the full gamut of human emotions is experienced. It’s easy to forget, such is the skill with which Roberts performs multiple characters, that there’s just one person on stage. A captivating and charming production.

4 stars

Review by Chris Omaweng

On a night out in a gay bar, Connor meets Rob. One’s a newcomer, the other has been on the scene far too long. But when a kiss leads to a brutal attack – who’s the victim and who’s the perpetrator?

Writer/Performer Alex Roberts
Director/Choreographer Cameron Carver
Composer/Sound Designer Jac Cooper
Video Designer Virginie Taylor
Co-Producer Kirsten Peters Roebuck

No Place Like Home wins Les Enfants
Terribles Award 2022
Pleasance Dome (10Dome), Potterow, Edinburgh, EH8 9AL
Wednesday 3rd – Monday 29th August 2022 (not 17th), 14:55

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