BWW Review: HOW NOT TO DROWN, Tron Theatre, Glasgow
Written by Nicola McCartney and Dritan Kastrati, How Not To Drown is based on Kastrati's true story about seeking refuge in the UK aged eleven. In 2002 at the end of the Kosovan war, his parents sent the young boy on a perilous journey at the hands of smugglers to follow his older brother to England.
On the stage is a tilted square of wood much like a raft, that rotates throughout the production to signify a change of location. This set piece is particularly effect during the scenes at sea where it can move to show the dangers of the crossing.
While the title made me think this play was mostly about Dritan travelling to England, it covers a great deal of what happened after that. He was not allowed to live with his brother as they deemed him too young at seventeen to care for a child. He was put in the foster care system and How Not To Drown details his time there. Dritan gets tangled up in guidelines and policies that leave Little Room for common sense and humanity.
The five-strong cast play a variety of roles and this is a valuable asset to the production. The play is very fast paced and having the actors switch in and out from the role of Dritan's parents to other young asylum seekers and then social workers helps to maintain a dizzying momentum. It's very well done, and it is never unclear who is playing who at any given time.
How Not To Drown is a powerful exploration of retaining self identity when you're thrown into another culture.
How Not To Drown is at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow until 14 September.
Photo credit: Mihaela Bodlovic