Tuesday, March 21

Welcome Home – Soho Theatre

Willy Hudson takes us on an adventure into a lurid, phantasmagoria of his past. It begins with Willy returning to his parents’ house after a messy breakup, which ignites memories of the past as he inadvertently seeks closure. The older Willy decides to avenge himself and portrays himself as the villain, fighting the good. With clever Doctor Who crossovers, comparing monsters to certain daunting figures in his life, Hudson’s personal story feels epic.

Hudson is an engaging storyteller with sass and warm expressiveness, keeping the narrative buoyant throughout with direction from Zach James. His descriptive, visual script evokes nostalgia, and the conversations are naturalistic with comedic undertones as Willy re-enacts them. The back and forth time jumping was in keeping with the Doctor Who elements, but it was sometimes confusing knowing which version of Willy he was at a given moment. However, this didn’t affect the enjoyment of the story. Wacky, bizarre moments and comic, light ones are interspersed with the dark reality of the heavier themes. Religion, namely Mr Church incited sexual shame and homophobia which led to inner turmoil, confusion and hiding for Willy.

The set designed by Anna Orton featured several flat-screen TVs clustered together between foil rocks and silver tubes as well as a galactic backdrop. The lighting designed by Jai Morjaria truly highlighted the sense of an epic, with perfectly timed floodlights. Tom Foskett-Barnes’ sound design was perfectly crafted for moments of terror, I think the microphone volume during songs was sometimes a bit too loud though. Susanne Dietz’ video design was often mesmerising and matched the kitschy space aesthetic and was effective at the climax as it cycled through graphic, crude videos.

Hudson’s piece is cleverly crafted yet chaotic at the same time, with imagination and spectacle throughout.

Showing until 11th Feb. https://sohotheatre.com/

Reviewer: Riana Howarth

Reviewed: 28th January 2023

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★