Nobody’s Home, presented by Theatre Témoin, is a modern retelling of the ancient epic tale of The Odyssey. The tale follows the hero, Odysseus, who struggles to return to his wife and son after the Trojan War. Similarly, this production follows married couple Grant (Will Pinchin) and Penny (Dorie Kinnear) who are expecting a child, struggling to regain their regular lives as Grant battles with post-traumatic stress disorder after the war.
The play shifts between present day reality and Grant’s horrific war memories and inner psyche. It explores Grant’s fragile mental state, his need to be himself again, his undying love for his wife and the fundamental reason behind his pain. It directly mirrors the story of The Odyssey, incorporating the bizarreness of Greek mythology within the couple’s marriage. The play was developed in California, through a series of collaborative workshops with combat veterans.
The most impressive part of this incredibly moving two-hander is the precision of the physicality. The actors tell a detailed story through their bodies, and the audience are fully engaged in it. It is abundantly clear that Jacques Lecoq’s influence is integral in the two actors’ performances. They move with such fluidity, chemistry and magnificent majesty. Pinchin’s intensity is gradual and thrilling, whilst Kinnear shows excellent versatility in her multi-roling. A personal highlight is the scene in which a psychiatrist physically invades the depths of Grant’s brain. Kinnear plays the patronising psychiatrist with such hilarity, and it contrasts with the disturbing images on stage effectively.
Sound is particularly integral in the telling of this story. Sound designer James Flockton has created an atmosphere that hauntingly depicts war and desolation. The intensity in the sound also symbolises Grant’s wrestling with the inner workings of his brain. The connection between the actors’ movements and the sound cues is meticulously accurate, creating slick and seamless transitions throughout.
It is difficult to create a piece of theatre as severe in its subject matter as Nobody’s Home without emotionally draining an audience. However, in this case it is done superbly. With vastly intelligent stage work, sincerely moving acting and fast-paced changes of plot direction, it is faultless. The company are passionate about creating thought-provoking theatre, and are supporting people with mental health problems as well as Help For Heroes. Theatre Témoin are also heading to the Edinburgh Fringe this summer, where they will be performing The Marked at the Pleasance Dome, and I would strongly recommend catching them.
Nobody’s Home played at the Pleasance Theatre until 9 June. For more information, see the Theatre Témoin website.