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Review: Zugunruhe/Transporter, at Camden People’s Theatre

31 October, 2018 — By ERIN COBBY

In rehearsal at Camden People’s Theatre: Transporter

FROM the No Direction Home Festival at Camden People’s Theatre come two startling solo performances that explore the relationship between migration and identity. Using stunning physicality, both create innocent characters in a magical realist style, highlighting the various victims of the migrant crisis.

Tom Bailey, creator of Zugunruhe, meaning “a restless migration in birds”, guides the audience through episodic experiments that blend art and science to explore how modern society disrupts migration patterns. Through translated foreign language recordings Bailey widens the play’s migrant definition: “no one cares about migrating birds because they are stateless”.

Bailey’s physicality, learnt from studying birds in the Somerset wetlands, is comic and touching in turn. This duality is brought to an amazing conclusion when Bailey, covered in feathers and illuminated by torches, appears to mock human control of animal patterns by rapidly switching from animal to human characterisation, showing the range within, and similarity between, the two species.

Transporter follows Maya (Catherine Dyson), who is always 13 and always on the move. Visiting an incredible number of locations, she uses direct address to question each place, reinforcing her status as an outsider. Each setting has a new narrative ranging from ordinary to fantastical. This liminal nature is echoed by Maya herself, allowing her to stand for countless displaced children.

Written in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, and the rising number of homeless families Dyson’s final words of “safe journey home” imbue in the audience a larger sense of communal responsibility.

No Direction Home: Until November 11
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