When I walked into the Traverse to see (Can This Be) Home, I can honestly say I had no idea what to expect. I was refreshingly pleased and thoughtful when I left the theatre. Though I knew that the play was on the topic of Brexit, over the past few weeks however the whirlwind of news had gotten away from me, so I was quite a blank slate as an audience member when coming into the theatre.
(Can This Be) Home is a Prague Fringe 2018 New Territories award winner. It is a beautiful combination of spoken word by Kolbrún Björt Sigfúsdóttir, and instrumental music by Tom Oakes. The spoken word comments on the immigrant experience of the EU referendum and subsequent uncertainties; Oakes’ music is inspired by his numerous travels around the globe. The show has been in the making since the summer before the vote and it has taken a lot of reworking to get it to this stage, as it is so difficult to sum up what has happened – as everything and nothing has happened or is still happening, all at the same time.
The two are sat on opposite sides of the stage and separated by a table on which sits a cassette tape player and a small pile of (presumably magnetic) sand. This sand is used throughout the musical interludes to be sculpted into different images pertaining to the spoken word. This simple set is really effective. Other props include polaroid photographs and a map which the audience are free to peruse at the end, which provides insight into where inspiration has come from for the different aspects of the performance.
I really enjoyed this piece. The spoken word and music blend seamlessly and the audience falls into an easy rhythm of switching between the two. Sigfúsdóttir’s spoken word is gorgeous and clearly comes from an authentic, heartfelt place. His work is truly thought-provoking as well as beautifully structured. Oakes’ music is stunning and it is clear that he is a highly skilled instrumentalist. His tales about the background to the songs and where they came from are also fascinating to hear about (especially as a fellow songwriter) and he tells them with a wonderful humour that is very engaging.
PHOTOS: Traverse Theatre