Review: How Do You Know You Are Home (Edinburgh Fringe, online)

One of the best things about the Edinburgh Fringe is the discovery of work from around the globe. In How Do You Know You Are Home, we are with a Greek expat living in Sweden, billed as “an immersive feel-good experience that comprises personal storytelling and comedy to tell a story about growing up and making a home in the world”.

The show runs just under thirty minutes and is written, performed and directed by Aliki Tsakoumi. With just one person watching (Trausti Bigisson, who filmed and edited the piece), it definitely suffers from the lack of an audience and the awkward signposting of where they would/should be laughing.

The premise of How Do You Know You Are Home is about what home might be. How do you know you belong somewhere, and what makes that ‘home’? Is it more complicated if you move cities, or countries? And, what if you feel you don’t belong anywhere?

Promotional image for How Do You Know You Are Home

In its current form, the show is too short, and falls between being a piece of stand-up (you can tell Tsakoumi has comedic gifts) and a confessional conversation about being displaced. This tonal conflict makes it difficult to engage fully with the piece, despite its length, and I felt that although it has definite potential, it isn’t quite reaching it yet.

This could be, with some development, a show which utilises humour to underline the personal and political points of making a home elsewhere. I liked the attempt to make it interactive at the start as Tsakoumi asks Bigisson a question about ‘home’, and this could easily be expanded to make a live audience feel they were included and given something to think about.

Fringe rating: **

You can stream How Do You Know You Are Home on the Fringe Player at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival until the end of August: book your ticket here.

For more about Aliki Tsakoumi, go to her website, where you can find details of her work as an immersive filmmaker.

2 thoughts on “Review: How Do You Know You Are Home (Edinburgh Fringe, online)

  1. However
    -The only audience member turns out to be her partner and “home” in the new country (we realize this towards the end)
    -Comics performing in empty rooms or only 1-2 people got very common during lockdown
    -The show is offered for free – just a pound for the edinburgh fringe
    I personally found it clear in its intention and could relate to both the jokes and the reflections, but my parents are are also Greek expats and maybe this had a part. Or maybe one needs to listen more closely/patiently if they are not used to performers that are non native English speakers? I don’t know… Anyways, it definitely is a great, funny and touching show, if you’re the audience for it.

    1. Hi, many thanks for taking the time to comment. I did understand the significance of this audience member but that’s something of a spoiler, and decided not to include it. It wasn’t for me, and I feel it needs a bit more work to really come through as what could indeed be a funny and touching show. Hard to achieve that in such a short running time. On whether free or not – my job as an OffFest assessor is to give an honest rating against other shows in the Fringe. A free show can be a knockout; a £10 show can be a dud. I’m glad you liked it and I wish it well in any future form it might take.

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