Browse reviews

Edinburgh Fringe 2023

Walking Home

Prickly Pear Productions

Genre: Devised, Political

Venue: Gilded Balloon Teviot


Low Down

Carla has not turned up for work but everybody else has. Following a night out with her co-worker, she has stopped answering her phone. Everyone begins to receive an email from HR regarding a serious incident about one of their co-workers, and people are informed that Carla is now off long term. This is an environmental fashion company with weave to spin, and little time for stories, but this causes everyone to stop and question things. Within their workspace rumour extends into self-declaration and exposure as the extent of toxic sexual misconduct in the workplace and society is laid bare.


At the heart of this, is an exceptionally important and dramatic idea – violence against an individual. I would have preferred that the storyline emerged more naturally and developed, especially the co-worker and their date, and the effect of an alleged stalker. As a topic, dramatically, this topic, especially sensitive original tales, requires careful handling. Here we get that towards the end but the place where I found it a little difficult to get along with was the beginning. For some the very idea of someone they know being sexually assaulted has disastrous connotations. Here we have the beginning of the possibility met with extreme emotions. Emotions at the top of the scale rather than building a character through their discovery, to realisation and then to a form of anger or disclosure, means that once a character has hit that height – it has little head room left to grow. It is that lack of building that, at times made this difficult to get into, as characters began by being dramatically appalled, and then had very few places to go to, dramatically.

And that continued up until, around halfway through, when there seemed to be a sea change. Characters settled into a narrative and performances felt anchored on the subtleties of the message rather than the over exposure of it.

One other area that was a struggle had nothing to do with the company, but the U/C in the corner. Given the temperatures outside it felt necessary – only just – but the constant thrumming was an issue for the cast – who to be fair, coped admirably.

And so, this is a production which has been well directed, in areas outside of pace. The performers are at least equal to this complex and important task, however, if they can tone down some of the movement reactions and vocally challenging elements of their role, it can communicate much more effectively. But what makes me feel even more positive is that when the solos appeared for all of them, there was a clear and distinct confidence – they each performed with a degree of sensibility which suggests the ensemble pieces just need to taper down competing performances. They can definitely raise this game, and this certainly has the legs to run and run.

Technically, I was unsure about the lights and “running” covering scene changes – felt like an idea that needed to be invested in rather than performed in what felt like a half-hearted fashion – go for it or ditch it.

This is one of those little finds in the Fringe where with a wee tweak here and a few changes there, you would be witnessing something that will develop and grow. Getting to see that early is always a bit of a pleasure – guilty perhaps – as you can see where development is assured and that the actors and creatives are very much up for making that happen.