Mesmerising production hits home

What a gem. It was an absolute privilege to see this piece of musical theatre, the only Taranaki performance of Home.

Written and directed by Jacqueline Coats, it brought history alive and touched your heart.

Three performers transported the audience to a world of love, fear, adventure, homesickness, hope, despair, family feuds and war as they portrayed Scottish immigrants living in New Zealand in the early 1900s.

I travelled my own journey, too. I began the show cringing in horror as one of the cast members rallied the audience to join in a sing-along of a rousing Scottish chorus. My lips stayed sealed and my voice quiet. By the end of the show, I was willingly joining in with gusto as we all sang Auld Lang Syne. The well known song had taken on even greater significance after such an emotive production.

Throughout the one-hour performance I experienced a rollercoaster ride of emotions. There were times I held my breath in anticipation, delight or fear. Other moments, I had a shiver going up my spine or a tear rolling down my cheek because of the power of this seemingly simple portrayal.

Rowena Simpson and Stuart Coats had the voices of songbirds as they sang beautiful, lilting Scottish songs. So accomplished were their accents that I convinced myself that the pair must indeed be Scottish.

Imagine my surprise when their Kiwi twangs were revealed after Home ended.

Pianist Douglas Mews looked as if he was to be an unsung hero hidden behind a screen. He was brilliant and certainly became a memorable part of the action, too.

The acting was marvellous. The sparse but realistic setting was ideal. The costuming and props were generally realistic.

A clothesline became a symbolic gathering of the various chapters in the young couple's life story. Even the squeaking Alexandra Room stage could not sully such a mesmerising performance from this superbly talented group.

Taranaki Daily News