Ten years have passed since Offstage Theatre performed their first production HOME which instantly gave them commercial success when it became a feature on Channel 4, ITV and BBC TV news. It was a play made by the community of the Beaumont Estate in Leyton East London and set inside one of the condemned towers prior to its demolition. Now, on the tenth anniversary of the demolition, OffStage have revisited these voices with this new adaptation of RE:HOME at Hackney Wick’s the Yard Theatre.
Director Cressida Brown has sensitively approached this new adaptation in verbatim style. She looks back at interviews made in 2005 with some of its 4,490 original residents and revisits the few she can find of which only 234 remain on the new low-rise estate. Like the disappearance of the original residences the play is no longer played by the community but by four versatile and strong actors; Walled Akhtar, Hasan Dixon, T’Nia Miller and Rose Riley.
The show chops and changes in time leading to an unsteady pace as you hear the many different and occasionally conflicting stories. The most compelling of these is the recreation of a group of four spirited pre-teens in 2005. As the piece progresses the four boys tragically haunt the piece like many of the ghost stories they exuberantly tell. In the last moments we discover the devastating fate of one of the boys leading to a moving climax. It is also in the last moments we finally start to understand the complexities of the ‘post code wars’ and the effect it had on the community.
At times it is an insightful piece exploring the meaning of home, however it’s fearful to delve into the stories behind the interviews. It’s a production that generally skims over the more political issues like the estates notorious reputation or the effects of gentrification in London but instead focuses on the memorable characters of the old Beaumont community. A foggy nostalgic piece limited by its style. 3/5
Review written by Gabi Gadsby.
RE:Home is currently showing at the Yard Theatre until Saturday 5th March. For more information on the production, visit here…
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