Review: The Welcome Revolution

ZOO Southside – until August 27th
3 Stars (3 / 5)

As audience members enter the space, a woman called Lara (Stella Von Kuskell) offers each of them a tea, coffee or hot chocolate. Immediately one feels comfortable and at ease despite not knowing what is about to happen. The word ‘Revolution’ in the show’s title gives the impression that this performance will be rousing, intense and perhaps forceful. By the end of the show however, it is apparent that the force in any revolution lies in the people’s desire to make a change in the world.

Lara compares the attitude of her grandfather, who opened a cafe with a mission to welcome everyone, with the everyday resident in present-day Edinburgh, who voice their concerns over the increasing number of refugees and foreigners let into the city. Having reopened the cafe under her name after her grandfather’s passing, she finds ways to continue his mission, but faces challenges with the growing xenophobia in today’s society.

While Lara is not the most skilful storyteller, she sure does it with a lot of heart. She continuously reaches out, both to the characters in her universe and to audience members. She invites them to play the ukulele, learn a dance, read postcards… gently, patiently, and above all peacefully, she builds a sense of togetherness that makes her customers believe that fostering a sense of community is not only better, but possible.