Ticketmaster Summer in Stages

Unstated: Stories of Refuge

Devised & Directed by Topher Campbell
Written by Fin Kennedy
The Red Room & TUC Southwark Playhouse
(2008)

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There were so many innovative ideas, clever sequences and solid acting in this production that it was a shame it didn’t quite work.

I think to blame was that there was no narrative or character exploration. While a screen projected interviews from experts and asylum seekers, you never got enough insight into anyone to really care or be swept up by their story.

There were nice touches; the cast frisked the audience and treated them as if they were at immigration on the way in which really irritated the American man in front of me who refused to sign the bogus form he was handed. It was amusing that he believed they were Southwark Immigration Control and didn’t cotton on to this bit of interactive fun.

Inside, the audience was frisked then herded between two rooms. A projection screen, real-time CCTV footage and actors entwining or acting round the on-screen testimonials.

The best bit was the last scene when the immigration cage became the front room for two young couples. It was great to see the actors get a chance to properly act even though there was still a tendency for over-exposition.

Ultimately, Unstated didn’t have the journalism of a documentary nor the engaging narrative of a play. While it fizzed with energy and innovative ideas, it was all too fragmented.

Reviewer: Zia Trench