EDINBURGH 2019: BWW Review: BYSTANDERS, Summerhall
Bystanders is the latest production from Cardboard Citizens- a production company that has been working with the homeless community and telling their stories for 25 years.
The piece draws from shocking news stories that have hit the headlines where homeless people have been treated terribly- but it also acknowledges the ones we don't hear about. The stories are hugely uncomfortable to listen to but it is completely necessary that we do.
Some statistics are mentioned throughout the show but the aim here is to humanise these people. A sheet with the names of the people who died last year in London alone is passed around the audience and we are asked to pick one and think about it for a second. Individual stories are told and we also hear from people who knew and loved them.
Bystanders also focuses on some attitudes common towards homelessness. One remark is that "you shouldn't give them money- it funds their addiction". The police in the stories that we hear come across as cold and callous as they blame budget cuts and overrun hospitals for not giving everybody equal treatment.
Cardboard Citizens are showcasing stories that might not normally have a platform. It isn't an easy watch but Bystanders is essential viewing.