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It’s rare to see a piece as open, vulnerable and personal as this one from Kings of England.
On a bare stage dressed in a smart suit Simon Bowes delivers a lecture, of sorts, about his father. His mother is in charge of the accompanying projections. Then his father – in his seventies - arrives onstage.
There are all sorts of engaging, beautiful ideas floating within ‘Where We Live & What We Live For’, some of them realised, some of them not. It’s a piece that looks at family, how we become who we are and looks at how our pasts shape our futures. Bowes shows us photographs of his father, aged 23, unmarried and unaware of his future wife, of his parents together and of pictures drawn by his grandfather, he looks at who his father is now and talks about vital moments of his life to us.
When his father arrives onstage, he dances, smiles, reads out lines from a script, and demonstrates how one day he has a transient ischemic attack when he was riding his bike in 2001.
The show is drowned in the large, high ceilinged Drill Hall Forest Fringe space, and the projections – photographs and drawings – are not big enough for the size of the room's audience. Bowes’ script is precise and well written, but he struggles at commanding the space, and delivering the text clear enough.
Looking past those mainly functional issues, 'Where We Live...' is touching, poignant and undeniably brave theatre.
By Daisy Bowie-Sell