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The Zoo, 7 – 15 August 2009

Reviewed for The List (issue 637)

Berkshire’s Theatre Oikos have their hearts in the right place, but that can’t conceal the fact that on the whole they aren’t particularly good actors or storytellers.

The dance elements are the highlight of immigration fable Home. Imagery subtly communicates meaning from the outset, as performers emerge from suitcases, wonder at the world outside, and take their first wobbly steps. Entering a new country, with its unfamiliar language and customs, leaves the new arrivals as helpless as newborns.

But the unison sequences are never successfully synchronised, and from then on physical and movement work is relegated to the background, providing settings and props for much less impressive naturalistic interactions. Everyone Polish immigrant Christophe meets on his journey through history (asking refugees from the better-known 20th century wars ‘Why do you want to go to England?’) delivers their lines mechanically and without feeling. Once he reaches England himself, the trend continues with added stereotypes, including his naturalised Indian neighbour and a bunch of predictably intolerant cockernee Chelsea fans. The dance needs to improve, so it can replace the acting altogether.

Written by Theatre Oikos

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