Review

REVIEW | Homeward Bound | Exploring inner space and isolation

Review | Laura Money

Have you ever looked at migratory birds and wondered how they know how to do it – like really know how to fly halfway across the world and then get back home to the exact same spot? The notion of homing and drifting is explored alongside isolation and humanity in Isaac Diamond‘s Homeward Bound. Diamond takes his fascination for ‘the incredible intelligence of animals and the awesome absurdity of people’ and creates a show where these elements merge and assist each other in a symbiosis of thoughts. Deeply philosophical, at once human and primal, Homeward Bound is a moving work that examines the importance of community in human identity.

Featuring a strikingly simple set designed by James McMillan in collaboration with lighting designer Rhiannon Petersen, The Blue Room Theatre‘s Main Space is transformed into a space ship. Strips of light form a hull as they are activated representing energy surges and create a visual frame for the action. Petersen’s lighting works in concert with a pared back, futuristic soundscape by composer and sound designer Rachael Dease. When Diamond wakes up from deep sleep alone and must navigate his newfound isolation with very little hope of ever seeing Earth again, the lights pulse and throb around him. As he enters strange dream-like hallucinations where he reimagines his past a surreal soundtrack and weak lighting contribute to this disturbia. But Diamond isn’t really alone. Kylie Bywaters plays the personification of the ship’s computer and does so with an infectious cheerfulness and humanity not usually present in AI.

Diamond’s unravelling is perfection. He vacillates between upbeat and energetic to morose and paranoid. Each time he lapses into a past memory, it behaves like a lucid dream. Twisting and turning in slow motion, Diamond embodies the very birds he needs to channel in order to discover the secret to going home. These moments display his mental breakdown but also his only hope of rescue – morphing and changing in a body horror-stricken dance symbolising the next stage of human evolution. Diamond’s script proves that all human ingenuity has its roots in nature. We learn from animals and each time we use a technology derived from them (velcro for example) we strengthen the bond between us and the rest of the animal kingdom. In this case, the technology that allows for hibernation makes us closer to animals, and the computer technology that Bywaters represents pulls her closer to Diamond. Bywaters plays it factual and robotic, yet there is a warmth and humanity that shines through. Diamond’s Perry receives more kindness and love from her than his dream mother – which is a bold statement on what humans need for comfort.

Homeward Bound is a down to earth play about humanity and community. It may feel like this story is detached but dig a little deeper at its philosophies of interconnectedness and identity. With a strong team of brilliant theatre-makers behind it, this show hits home.

Homeward Bound is playing at The Blue Room Theatre until 22nd October 2022. TICKETS

The Fourth Wall acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we engage in storytelling on – the Wadjhuk people of the Noongar nation. We pay respects to their elders past, present, and emerging.

Keep up with The Fourth Wall on Facebook and @fourth_wall_media on Instagram to see what we’re up to in 2022.

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