Theatre review: Homeward Bound

A voyage through time and space through the eyes of an astronaut far from a ravaged earth.

Entering the intimate performance space of Lazy Yarns’ newest show Homeward Bound truly feels like stepping aboard a spaceship. The audience is greeted by a low-frequency humming and overhead neon lights, and in the doorway, a figure dressed all in white is hooked up to some out-of-sight machine. Written and performed by Isaac Diamond, Homeward Bound follows an astronaut, Captain Perry, as he awakes from cryogenic sleep to the news that his navigation system has failed.

Far from Earth, his mission has been unsuccessful, and now he is left drifting, alone except for the super-computer controlling the ship. As far as he knows, everyone and everything he left on Earth is gone. Forced to confront his fate, Captain Perry turns to his memories of the past – of his ornithologist mother, and the birds back on Earth. 

Homeward Bound is a sensory delight. Rachael Dease’s excellent sound design evokes the loneliness of life on a lost spacecraft, but also creates moments of light-hearted humour and emotion. Rhiannon Petersen uses lighting equally effectively, with colour and intensity adding to the atmospheric setting. With just two performers alone on a spare and intimate stage, the use of lighting and sound is instrumental in creating emotional connections and communicating key elements of the plot. Together, the sound and light design successfully elicit an eerie yet atmospheric backdrop to a poignant storyline.

Isaac Diamond and Kylie Bywaters both delivered well-rehearsed and emotive performances, drawing the audience into Captain Perry’s turmoil. Together, they made excellent use of the deserted stage, accompanied by well-timed sound and lighting transitions to not just tell Captain Perry’s story, but to push the audience to consider concepts of home, loss and nature. 

While not an overtly political performance, the focus on the natural world unsurprisingly drives Homeward Bound to briefly touch on the destruction of nature by humankind. The spaceship departed in the first place because of the damage to the Earth, and Captain Perry mournfully expects that in his absence, the natural world will likely have been completely decimated. However, the theme of nature and the wild is explored through the motif of birds, representing freedom, independence and self-determination – all qualities that Captain Perry aimed to emulate when he began his voyage. When Perry’s thoughts turn back to his mother in his darkest hour, Homeward Bound encourages the audience to consider the power of the natural world and the surprises it holds. 

Read: Exhibition review: Naadohbii: To Draw Water

Enthralling and touching, Homeward Bound melds an astronaut’s mission through space with the incredible migration of birds to create an intriguing perspective on leaving (and returning) home. 

Homeward Bound by Lazy Yarns, presented at The Blue Room Theatre, WA
Writer: Isaac Diamond
Director: Elise Wilson 
Sound designer: Rachael Dease
Lighting designer: Rhiannon Petersen
Actors: Isaac Diamond and Kylie Bywaters

Homeward Bound will be performed until 22 October 2022.

Elena Perse is a Master of Professional Writing and Publishing student and book lover. Her work has been published by Pelican Magazine, Westerly Magazine and FRINGEWORLD.