Review: Home @ Sherman Cymru
Cardiff's multicultural history is noteworthy.
Whether it is the Somali, Greek, Polish or Chinese communities (that's just a short list), our port city has thrived with people from all nations living and working here for many decades.
Home recounts the journeys made by some of the Pakistani community who now reside in Cardiff. With more than 50 people on stage, this work felt epic the moment you arrived in the space. At least three generations of families sat across the stage: children carrying luggage larger than themselves, had seedlings inside to remind us of homesickness and being rooted somewhere. These seedlings eventually began to decorate the end of the stage.
This is the definition of a community piece. These aren't actors, but rather the people who actually made these journeys to Wales, creating stories and families along the way. Their efforts are admirable and inspiring, but it is the youngest who play the largest role in this piece.
When detailing their own (or even their parents or grandparents) arrival here in "cold" Cardiff or returning (and for some their first visit) to Pakistan and how childhoods were made there, we get a vague idea of what these adventures were like. The script they have all worked on felt very watered down, which needed more bite. There was the occasional fluffing of a line and missed cue, since it was the first night.
In a later passage in the show, performers address us about the ill-informed way the media treats Muslims today. Although the painting of Islam with the same brush about terrorism is totally unjustified, this scene came out of nowhere, even if it was truthful. Towards the end, each and everyone on stage thanked us for having them here. This was almost a moving moment and I was half tempted to yell back "you're welcome!"
I couldn't stay for the generous applause and post show talk (I was running late for BBC NOW), but their own community were so thrilled to know that they were being represented on stage today in Cardiff.
I would like to see more tighter work from this ensemble at the Sherman.
This is the start of something grand.
Rating: 3 Stars
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Photo Credit: ShermanCymru.co.uk