“We all need hope.”
Border Crossing’s production ‘When Nobody Returns’ by Brian Woolland, is very much a play of love and war. The running themes of hope and doubt are gripping to an audience, and I left the theatre wanting to know what happens next to these troubled yet likable characters.
The story follows Odysseus (Andrew French) and his battle with himself, he has a yearning to come home after being at war for over a third of his life. He left behind his wife Penelope (Iman Aoun) and son Telemakhos (Tariq Jordan), who have waited for his return. His wife sings a song named ‘Safe Passage Home’ which repeats throughout the production, which I found to be moving despite the fact I do not know the direct translation of the language. Women singing songs to call their husbands home is true of every war story, and this was no exception. A subtle yet moving touch which added a layer of truth within the text.
The set of this production was unlike anything I had seen before. We were sat in some kind of unit/warehouse, and there were two separate platforms of which I can only describe as what looked like broken slabs of pavement. This showed the divide between Odysseus’s family, and his life at war. Being sat at the edge of one of the platforms made this a very intimate performance. The opening scene in which Penelope and her son are having a passionate debate was gripping. I felt as if I was in that very room of their home watching them have a mother/son conversation, which I believe to be the directors intentions by using this choice of set.
However, the real strength in this production isn’t the set, it is how the actors used it to tell their story. I was captivated by the entire cast from the moment it began, and I routed for each and every character and hoped that they got all that they longed for. I give particular applause to David Broughton-Davies, who lightened up the show with his comedic scenes. He played a relatable character who showed great fondness towards Odysseus. Broughton-Davies is a brilliant story teller, and an asset to this production. A truly captivating performer.
I urge you all to see this production, a captivating tale that deserves to be told. Border Crossing’s Plays of Love and War are thought provoking – I hope that you are as captivated by them as I am.
Special thanks to Theatre Bloggers for sending me to this event.