The Ajoona Guest House

AAR-La-Mama-Theatre-The-Ajoona Guest-House-Stephen-House-photo-by-Darren-GillMasterfully written, The Ajoona Guest House is a thoughtful and intricate musing on youth, addiction, nostalgia and how we try to make sense of what came before, even if there isn’t much sense in it.

Told with humanity, compassion, and unsparing honesty, it is disarming in its candour and emotionally vivid. Director Rosalba Clemente has cleverly allowed the colours intrinsic to the piece to blossom in this staging.

The minimalist set provides a blank canvas on which Julian Adams’ lighting design and Alain Valodze’s sound design subtly but effectively trace and punctuate the unfolding story.

Stephen House beautifully performs his monologue, written during an Asialink literature residency in New Delhi, pulling the audience into the rich Indian setting and sketching in impressive detail a cast of colourful, broken characters, each thoroughly fleshed out in body and soul by House.

His rhythm and pace is spot on, hurrying us through the chaos of the street one minute, and the next letting us hover, transfixed, in the presence of squalor, death and memory.

And in the musicality of that storytelling, House’s gift for poetry sings. There are many moving moments in this show, but one feels them more acutely for the manner of their telling.

House has a knack for capturing the nuances of human interaction in a simple phrase. It lends a satisfying meter to the heart-stopping poignancy of many of the moments shared by the figures in this story.

This piece is not to be missed by anyone for whom the great tapestry of humanity holds infinite joy and wonder.

The Ajoona Guest House
La Mama, 205 Faraday Street, Carlton
Performance: Wednesday 10 August 2022
Season continues to 21 August 2022
Information and Bookings:

Image: Stephen House stars in The Ajoona Guest House – photo by Darren Gill

Review: Daniel Townsend