Cascade Creative Recovery has teamed up with Invisible Voices to put on a stellar show about homelessness, addiction, and how to beat it. Appearing first, the Cascade Recovery Choir is hugely popular and clearly enjoy themselves – but for me the drama in the second half stole the show.
There were two plays: Elephant in the Room performed by the Cascade Drama Group, and Fit for Work Assessment which was the brainchild of Still Human UK. Like Craig Neesam’s poetry, the dialogue fizzed with wit and humour that I did not expect.
Elephant in the Room is a tasteful exploration of addiction and the stranglehold it has on people, destroying their relationships and their lives. “Who am I?” the characters asked, and each one replied, “I’m an addict.” It’s addiction which defines and controls some people’s lives, not their university education or their families.
Bobby Carver is the star of the second play, this time fighting a system that simply does not see him. Nils Visser is a DWP official conducting a Fit for Work Assessment; Bobby Carver is tetraplegic and has to use a wheelchair, but he is still expected to do acrobatics. Visser steals most of the laughs, with a commanding performance of utter indifference. At times more like a pantomime than a play, the audience shouted: “He’s behind you!”
We all know that at times, homeless people experience humiliation and degradation, yet are expected to remain polite and stoic by a society that doesn’t care. But the actors don't wallow in self-pity; far from it, they fight back with resilience and humour. This is what made the plays authentic and compelling.
Invisible Voices have published their second book in which they document homelessness, mental illness, addiction, disability and rejection by society – while Craig Neesam will be publishing street poetry with Jouannah Bar next month. People trying to get off the streets are invited to seek refuge at the Cascade café, 24 Baker Street, which is a clean, safe space to meet others and battle any demons together.
I would highly recommend any work produced by Cascade Drama Group, Cascade Recovery Choir, Cascade Street Poets, New Note Orchestra and Still Human UK. Buy the book, and don’t miss the next show. Sometimes true stories touch us far more than fiction.