Articles relating to: HOME
The folks over at HOME in Manchester have launched the Manchester Open Exhibition, a major open-entry art show celebrating the creative talent of Greater Manchester residents.Read the full story..
It wasn’t an ideal moment for Robert Bolt to be arrested.Read the full story..
Win a family ticket (two adults plus two children) to Roots at Manchester’s HOME.Read the full story..
This is the second time I’ve been to HOME this year and cried.Read the full story..
Director Robert Eggers may only be two films into his fledgling career as a director and writer but he has already proven himself a master of psychological horror.Read the full story..
I am nothing if not a Matt Haig fangirl.Read the full story..
Ever since it was published nearly ten years ago, Jackie Kay’s memoir Red Dust Road has been in on-off development as a stage play. As a project, it’s a big ask. The book follows Kay’s journey of discovery as an adopted child from Scotland to Nigeria, taking in a whole host of different times, places and people along the way. Now the stage version, adapted by Tanika Gupta and directed by Dawn Walton, arrives at HOME in Manchester after several Scottish dates. In the event it’s very easy to like, but harder to adore.
It’s extremely ambitious, using a minimum of devices and trickery to conjure up Kay’s tale. The achievements of the cast vary, but as Kay’s adoptive parents, Lewis Howden and the mighty Elaine C. Smith loom large, proving to be the life and soul of the piece, appropriately enough. As Kay herself, Sasha Frost is an appealing presence, all the more impressive because she doesn’t have a great deal to go on. It’s an oddly slight, underwritten part. As events unfold, Jackie remains simply, unremittingly nice, with no edge and hence no depth to her, emerging almost as a bystander to proceedings rather than the protagonist.
The shape of the narrative has a similar problem in terms of drawing in the audience. Kay’s story is by no means a conventional quest, but one key destination point – meeting her birth father Jonathan (Stefan Adegbola) – is thrown in almost at the start, pulling away any sense of anticipation or dramatic tension. Frustratingly, the scene even begins after the first moment of meeting, so we never get to see it.
To be fair, Red Dust Road is aiming to create a subtle, lyrical tapestry, leaping back and forth in terms of time and place. In that respect though it’s an uphill struggle, not helped by the curious lack of enveloping intimacy in the HOME theatre space. It’s hard to feel engaged by Jackie’s tusslings with her roots and identity when they meander so, never settling in one setting for long enough to resolve in a satisfying way. That said, individual scenes often feel long and woolly and overall the piece, which runs at two and a half hours, lacks a concerted sense of pace and snap.
The second half coalesces a little better than the first, and it’s never less than enjoyable, with some great lines and decent laughs. Along the way there are some elegant, beguiling moments but for all the boldness and ambition on show here, it remains pleasant but underwhelming. There might be a much better play in there somewhere, or possibly Kay’s wide-ranging, highly personal memoir just poses insurmountable hurdles where staging is concerned.
Red Dust Road is at HOME, Manchester until September 21, 2019. For more information, click here.
To read Andy’s interview with Jackie Kay, click here.
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