Review: Home is a magical and immersive theatrical show at The Broad Stage

Home The Broad Stage Photo credit: Sea Sloat / www.seasloat.photography

Photo credit: Sea Sloat (www.seasloat.photography)

When I read about Home, my expectations were really low. How amazing can a stage performance about people doing daily routines be? After witnessing the 105-minute spectacle, my answer is very amazing. Home isn’t your typical stage play. There is hardly any dialogue, and throughout the show, it felt like a surreal experience thanks to the lighting, staging, performances, and audience interaction.

Home comes from the mind of Geoff Sobelle, and it has a lot of moving parts. Objects and people appear out of nowhere, but it’s not a magic show. There are singing and dancing, but it’s not a musical. What it is is a visual extravaganza, and all these elements create an unusual and entertaining experience that will be the talk of the town. Imagine sounds from random items coming together to create music (like this video on YouTube), and you’ll get an idea.

Home The Broad Stage Photo credit: Sea Sloat / www.seasloat.photography

Geoff Sobelle inside the house. Photo credit: Sea Sloat (www.seasloat.photography)

The premise of the show has residents in the past, present, and future living in a house and doing their daily routines. It starts off with Sobelle setting up the lights and building a room. It’s a quiet performance, and before your very eyes, a bed and door appearĀ out of nowhere. He changes into his pajamas and tucks himself to sleep. As the sheets cover his body, he instantly transforms into a young boy. That’s the moment I knew Home would be something special.

Soon a single bedroom would turn into a whole sequence where carpenters are building a house in front of the audience. It’s visually appealing, like a dance number, and soon the crowd gets to see the finished multi-room, two-story house (see below).

Home The Broad Stage Photo credit: Sea Sloat / www.seasloat.photography

Photo credit: Sea Sloat (www.seasloat.photography)

Once the house is done, residents start to move in. After settling in, they begin their morning routine, from showering to cooking breakfast. (Yes, showering requires them to go in the bathroom sans clothes, so don’t be surprised when you see brief nudity.) This may sound boring on paper, but it’s done in a way that’s entertaining. Imagine yourself having the ability to see residents from the past, present and future performing their morning routine inside a house at the same time. The choreography is complex like an actual dance number, and that means there is little room for mistakes.

Home The Broad Stage Photo credit: Sea Sloat / www.seasloat.photography

Photo credit: Sea Sloat (www.seasloat.photography)

The lighting design is wonderful, and one of the highlights was creating the day and night cycles for a scene. One sequence involved the morning, and the lighting created the effect of the sun rising through the window blinds. Then there’s a scene where a person is walking inside at night, and the lighting and practical effects created the illusion of bugs flying around the porchlight. It’s so simple, but the results were very amusing and inventive.

The Broad Stage Home

Photo credit: Sea Sloat (www.seasloat.photography)

When Home is transitioning from one scene to the next, composer Elvis Perkins comes out with his string instrument to perform original songs. Decked out in an all-white outfit, he lends his chilling voice as he plays folk-rock music.

The show builds up to a big house party where audience members are invited to step onto the stage. One was tasked with answering the door and making sure a kid is behaving himself, another is tasked with bringing a bottle of wine to the party, and a quartet is tasked with the night’s entertainment as a band. The performers were able to navigate the participating audience members, and the beginning felt so convincing that a part of me felt like they were actually actors pretending to be in the crowd. Just when you thought they were done, they would bring out more guests to join in on the festivities. They all had a part to play including officers, party animals, graduates and more.

Home is a beautiful and magical show that starts off very intimate, and throughout its runtime, it becomes a huge and exciting party inside a beautiful set. Aside from daily routines, it also touches on all types of events including birth, death, and other milestones.

Home is now playing at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica, CA, until March 8, 2020. For tickets, visit The Broad Stage site. It is currently touring all around the world, and you can see the calendar here.

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John Nguyen
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