Friday, 20 May 2016

Knife Edge Promenade

The reminder email the afternoon before I was to see  Knife Edge from The Big Houseproduction company at the Pond advised that I should prepare myself for a ‘promenade performance’ and  to ‘travel light’ added to my expectation

Through the making of theatre The Big House provides a platform for young people who’ve been through the care system and being challenged by life, an opportunity to have their voices heard, in KnifeEdge we certainly hear their voices!

I was shocked by the directness and frankness of those voices the plays language pulled no punches in making manifest the anger the youth felt about the way they’d been treated  by society - it was full-on, frank and foul. I was left in no doubt at the young people’s resentment, mistrust and suspicion, rejection being their experience and expectation. They in turn rejected many of those sent by society to care for them; a line from the play that reflected that  despair and mistrust  for me was one directed to a carer  ‘You only care ‘cos you’re being paid!’

The acting was without exception powerful and emotional, I had the sense these guys were not acting but living their lives before us. - the words came from their own lives.

The settings were brilliantly innovative as we – the audience moved around the restaurant from sets depicting a Nando’s restaurant to a kitchen to a living rooms and the street. The lighting was particularly inventive much use being made of  plastic water bottles and  LED light strips – you have see it to believe how magical it made the various sets as we were led from one scene to another around the entire restaurant space.

As the play moves form one scene to another, the young people are on an emotional journey  from one life changing event to another  we the audience followed their story  through a physical journey as we moved  from set to set .

Knife Edge’s ending is as powerful as moving as its beginning as we the audience complete our promenade as we are invited to share a meal with the actors - cannot speak highly enough of the Hawaiian style fish – sharing food , Knife Edge and their lives.

I very much enjoyed the meal both the food and  meeting and sharing with the actors and The Big House production team ,  the meal was also a chance to network with other like minded folk concerned about the life outcomes of our young people leaving the care service.  I was minded of Cameron’s statement that children in care have been 'let down for too long' something had to be done by Government,

To conclude my Knife Edge promenade showed me that there is hope as young people from care despite set backs can ‘make it’ but we can certainly do more to help them on their promenade.

Knife Edge - a great evening's entertainment with good food and good company and a strong message - recommended !