Raised Voices… Real Lives
Kevin Kelly the part is played by Kevin Kelly the actor in this fascinating biopic of his later life. Personal accounts were recorded via dictaphone by Blair Christie, the artistic & everything else director of Raised Voices, a charity he founded in 2013 to offer creative writing and drama classes to people who have experienced homelessness. To tell this riveting, ultra-modern tale, a massive contributor was Ian Gibson, who we never saw on stage, but whose narration of Kevin’s thoughts was spot-on; often weaving into the dialogue itself… while Kevin would interact with an actor, Ian would reveal what was really going on in Kevin’s tortured mind.
All feelings I had of myself became toxic – I started to self harm in a big way
Kevin is joined on-stage by Lee Holland, Matthew Power, the multi-tasking Katy Greeney & of course the equally multi-tasking Archie Gray, one of the first members to join Raised Voices. Together they dart to & fro from the stage like dragonflies, embellishing every scene with spirit. One of these scenes in particular was amazing, when they all played various social aggressives; cluttering & pounding Kevin’s poor mind with sex-offers, drug-deals & insults upon his punishing descent into suicidal madness down Hastings.
Kevin found himself in that southern town at the end of a too common helter-skelter that begins with the tragic loss of his baby son & ends in the anonymous hell of a porous half-life by the moody, sliding, grey slab of the English Channel. Before then, a funeral scene was enacted with such silent tenderness I found my tear-wells hauling up a bucket or two. For Kevin, the blinkers were firmly on, & nothing could alleviate his private panic at this sense of devastating loss.
We have a core group of members that have been with us for years, they have all experienced homelessness at some point in their lives. We also have new members that have come on board that have not been homeless but have experienced or are experiencing some other issues in their life. All are not trained actors which brings a real rawness and energy to the performance. Blair Christie
Read the full interview
It is not all pathos & gloom, however; Prometheus does escape his rock eventually, & the ending is upbeat & reaffirming. It is like watching somebody lose their limbs then have them regrow even stronger. As a fair valuation for the random theatre-goer visiting the Fringe, 3 stars is an honest score, but for those wanting to experience Human truth upon the stage, then nothing can touch Raised Voices… Real Lives.
Damian Beeson Bullen