Walking Home @ Gilded Balloon Teviot

Prickly Pear Productions delivers a powerful, emotionally-charged drama mapping the fall-out of sexual assault through a workplace

Review by Charlotte Chapman | 25 Aug 2023
  • Walking Home

Prickly Pear Productions bring a hard-hitting performance to the Fringe with Walking Home, a tale of four co-workers coming to terms with an attack on their friend Clara. Though the victim herself never appears, the principal characters are each given a chance to monologue about similar cases (either shared or experienced) in her place.

The Maltese theatre company gathered real testimonies from over 40 survivors to craft the show, and continue to work with assault relief charities to blend these reports as authentically as possible into a striking production with a clear agenda. Actors incorporate the audience, turning them into a live statistic to prove just how staggeringly common these experiences are. In basing the principal characters around the periphery of the incident, Walking Home is able to spotlight angles not usually discussed in sexual assault cases; the attack is treated like a small bomb, the purpose of the play to uncover odd corners where the shrapnel lands.

The central tension for much of the performance is that one of the male employees is assumed guilty both by his coworkers and, as he directly addresses, by much of the audience as well. While the production is led by heart-wrenching female experiences, the male perspectives offered here are just as valuable, and serve to interrogate the position of many who are told to stand on the sidelines – that this "isn't about you". The group use some interesting tactics to make familiar points; however, not all of these elements are incorporated successfully. At times the acting seems over-eager, an unfortunate by-product of the show's structure, which starts at an emotionally charged peak and has trouble maintaining this height for the rest of the hour.

Despite these bumps, the acting is generally impressive. From start to finish, Walking Home is clear about its stance. It is a thought-provoking show with a strong emotional core, using its stage to tell an important story that we are, unfortunately, all familiar with – it leaves the audience angry and aching for change.

Walking Home, Gilded Balloon Teviot (Wine Bar), until 28 Aug, 5.30pm, £11-13