Creative Stars Update: All the Way Home, 15 October 2011

As part of our Creative Stars participant development, we took the group to see a performance of All The Way Home; a collaboration between the Library Theatre Company and The Lowry. Here’s Jame’s review of the performance.

All The Way Home, the new play by East is East writer Ayub-Khan Din, is yet another poignant, bittersweet piece of social realism. In this play, centred once more in the writer’s home town of Salford, we observe a disintegrating family trying to pull together as they wait upon the death of Frankie, a young man suffering with cancer. Sounds like a right laugh, doesn’t it? Yet despite the depressing subject matter, there was a lot of warmth and humour to be found lurking among the broken fragments and festering grudges that mar their happiness.

The acting all round was superb – Julie Riley as Sonia and Judith Barker as Aunty Sheila were particularly impressive, spitting out one liners as though they were born to do it. I could imagine them doing an explosive double act in the future. At times, the play seemed to veer on the edge of the soapy and over-melodramatic, but I think its saving grace is how wise it is about families in general. Ayub-Khan Din, having grown up in a family with ten children, probably knows more than anyone that family problems are not easily resolved. The wounds can run deep, and sometimes, are unable to heal. The play is very true about this, and despite the underlying warmth that permeates throughout, this is ultimately a very patient, subtle tragedy, as intimately observed (but inevitably louder and more dramatic) as an Ozu film. Equally impressive is the fact that with such a large ensemble cast, the writer still managed to flesh out every character, never resorting to lazy stereotyping or easy answers. No one is obviously right or wrong in this drama; we understand everyone’s point of view while realising that all are, in some way, to blame.

Ultimately, I thought this was an incredibly well written and searingly honest piece of satire. I, for one, can’t wait to see what Ayub will come up with next.

Written by LiveWire Young Critic, James Martin (October 2011)