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Churchill Theatre, Edinburgh International Festival 
Four stars

When the audience of six are led on the short walk from the Church Hill Theatre foyer to the studio space at the back of the building, it isn't entirely clear where they're going. The worlds they're about to be plunged into over the next forty-five minutes, however, are an infinitely more frightening trip into the unknown. Vox Motus' re-telling of Caroline Brothers' 2012 novel follows the harrowing journey of Kabir and Aryan, two brothers from Afghanistan, who flee their country for refuge in England by way of Greece, Italy and France. It is a hazardous and often life-threatening journey, which thousands upon thousands of refugees are attempting right now.

In Vox Motus' retelling, directors Candice Edmunds and Jamie Harrison, working with writer Oliver Emanuel, designer and model-maker Rebecca Hamilton and lighting designer Simon Wilkinson have created an intimate and troubling experience. Each audience member sits alone in a booth wearing headphones, as a revolving kaleidoscope of images light up the boys' story. This effectively creates a three dimensional multi-media graphic novel, with an ensemble of nine actors giving voice to the action, while Mark Melville's exquisite score lends atmosphere and heart to each image.

This is delivered with remarkable attention to detail, with each constructed frame a work of art in itself, playing with perspective and close-ups as a film might do. Beyond this, the story itself is an emotionally bruising narrative of human courage in the face of dangers that puts the boys at risk with every step they take. There are survivors, but this is a tragically necessary story, which is here allowed to soar into brand new life.

The Herald, August 7th 2017



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