Available online as part of the Brighton Fringe Festival 2021, Voices From Home, a fifth volume collection of audio plays presented by Broken Silence Theatre, gives a voice to emerging regional writers from South East England. These places are at the forefront of the stories, with regional accents, locations, and events celebrated, acknowledged, and woven in so they are endemic to the overall experience.
The first play, ‘Woo Woo,’ used descriptive language to give a sense of location and place, and sound effects to tell a story that cleverly intermingled real life and a video game. The video game gave a lens through which the character’s story of first love and grief was told. Naomi Denny, with direction from Tim Cook, demonstrated excellent use of pace, pitch, pause, and tone when recreating conversations the character had with others. Denny used articulation and resonance to make clear distinctions. Sarah Milton, the writer, included little details that created character and were used well by Denny to great effect.
The second play, ‘The Self Defence Class,’ by Madeleine Accalia, used dark humour with assonance and alliteration to create an upbeat play full of energy, keeping the audience rooting for Mag, the main character. The onomatopoeic language made for enticing and exciting listening, creating atmosphere. The character’s thoughts and viewpoint were at the forefront to gain audience sympathy, and were used to full effect by the actor, Julia Grogan, and director Sophie Drake. The sudden sound effects moved time along without unnecessary words and created a sensation for the audience.
The third play, ‘These Things That Burn,’ by Georgie Bailey had a different start to the other plays to set the audience off with an unsettling feeling. This was played on by actor Niamh Finlay and director Eilidh Gibson, through the juxtaposition between the character’s joyful vocal expression and her terrifying content. With the audience on edge, the play achieved the desired effect, with the sound effects particularly effective. Audience engagement was maintained through sound effects that finished off sentences by replacing words, requiring the audience’s attention and perception.
The fourth play, ‘Vinegar Chips,’ used stereotypes and elements of british culture to create humour and interest. A crescendo of sound towards the end built tension but was relieved with a humorous ending, and a hint of darkness, a bit like vinegar! Actor Eleanor Grace ploughed through the script by Grace Merry with ease, directed by Tess Agus.
The fifth play in, Voices from Home, ‘The Rougham Mirage,’ by Lucy Dobree and directed by Charlie Norburn was impactful through the brave choice of a subtle, almost monotone, vocal expression for the entirety of the play, from actor Antonia Salib. A choice which really paid off. The sad undertones and lovely resonance by Salib projected the character’s essence.
Overall the plays in the collection, Voices From Home, complemented each other. However, the stiff automated voice between pieces deadened the atmosphere, breaking connection for the audience. Each play in itself was superb.
Voices From Home is part of Brighton Fringe’s digital programme. It is available until 27th June 2021. Tickets are on sale here.