12 April 2017
Starting from an admitted place of ignorance gives No Human is Illegal a valuable authenticity, says Phoebe Graham
No Human is Illegal is slick and polished and well-researched and creatively executed and mostly importantly: honest.
Honest in admitting that the company barely knew about the refugee crisis before they started to make the piece, and this gives the production an authenticity that can often be lost in shows that attempt to tackle prevalent political issues.
Issues of newspapers and national flags fly like birds around the stage, startling videos of the Syrian devastation underscore and interact with onstage action and physical sequences are innovative, telling a crystal-clear narrative of the facts, figures and stories surrounding the refugee crisis.
Crisis on an international scale can present difficulties in accessing and representing a global situation made up of unsolved questions and geographical distance.
Distance is pulled closer together by the students of Leyton Sixth Form College by an understated, uncomplicated and unpretentious approach to their ensemble efforts.
Efforts at times cross into cliché through dictionary definitions and the use of well-recognised instrumental soundtracks, overpowering the original content performing on top of it.
It’s still a testament to the modest strength of No Human Is Illegal that the cast manage to move and make tears without any pretence and poetry.
Poetry can recite millions upon millions of words, but all that’s needed to educate is passion and faultless focus.
Education is where No Human is Illegal really thrives; even if some of the audience may have already been aware of the information presented by these students, a clear process of political engagement and learning has taken place over the course of the rehearsal process and performances.
Performances that educate through process will never be superfluous, and will always be valuable.
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Photo credit: Giulia Delprato