Tag Archives: Welcome Home

Welcome Home

Welcome Home


Soho Theatre

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Welcome Home

“Hudson’s great success with “Welcome Home” is that it’s spectacular, silly and provocative”


Headlines in the media over the past few days about the Church of England and its debate over same sex marriage and relationships mean Willy Hudson’s brave and absorbing new solo show could hardly be more timely.

“Welcome Home” is from one perspective a mad rant about religion and an institution that has so frequently heaped shame on queer life, an attempt to heal (or escape from) a past of hurt.

But an autobiographical and uncomfortable show just mouthing off on the subject would become little more than a heavy soapbox speech or ill-informed Twitter comment.

And in fact when the energetic and often chaotic show is stripped down it is not ultimately as negative as you may be expecting. There’s a sense that if we actually bothered to listen to each other and attempt to understand rather than judge (a truth for all sides) then we may just be able to build a better present and future.

The springboard to the memoir is Hudson’s break-up with the boyfriend we were introduced to in “Bottom” and returning home to live with his parents, which leads to a plethora of thoughts about his upbringing, his local church and Robbie Williams.

Hudson’s great success with “Welcome Home” is that it’s spectacular, silly and provocative, using sci-fi, music, and humour to address break-up of relationships, break-up with the past, break-up with unyielding establishment – and putting yourself back together as a result.

“This is the making of me” he proclaims at the start and what results after 80 frantic minutes is a deeply personal tale of honesty and discovery on what for many will be a shared journey – even if the destination isn’t the same for all.

As both writer and performer Hudson could be in danger of becoming manically inward-looking as he seeks to demolish childhood nightmares and establishment edifices but director Zach James keeps him the right side of demonic.

If Hudson’s last show, “Bottom,” was revealing and buttock-clenching and performed more in a cabaret style, this is altogether more theatrically entertaining, determined and heart-wrenching. “Welcome Home” is certainly more a narrative of dark nightmare revenge than its predecessor’s pink fluffiness with a whiff of leather.

There’s as much here for the geeky as the cheeky: Doctor Who’s weeping angels stand like sentinels threatening to send the performer back in time if he fails to learn important lessons, while “Star Wars” references lead to an unexpected and heart-warming finale.

Anna Orton’s set and costume design add elements of nerdy kitsch and it’s clear that a lot of people have contributed to the success of this solo work. It is terrific to see the large company listed on the programme, a bunch of creatives given the chance to develop queer, neurodivergent and working class productions.

A review always runs the risk of becoming purely academic assessment so it must be stressed that Hudson aims to raise laughs as much as raising important questions. For all the moments of nervous seat-shuffling there are plenty of slices of mad comedy.

Hard-hitting with dashes of discomfort sitting alongside the comic, “Welcome Home” is likely to mirror the experiences of many who want to rage against a religious and all too often uncaring machine, but Hudson succeeds in giving his story and performance a heart and a hope.


Reviewed on 30th January 2023

by David Guest

Photography by Harry Elletson



Previously reviewed at this venue:


An Evening Without Kate Bush | ★★★★ | February 2022
Y’Mam | ★★★★ | May 2022
Hungry | ★★★★★ | July 2022
Oh Mother | ★★★★ | July 2022
Super High Resolution | ★★★ | November 2022
We Were Promised Honey! | ★★★★ | November 2022
Le Gateau Chocolat: A Night at the Musicals | ★★★★ | January 2023


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Welcome Home – 3 Stars


Welcome Home

Old Red Lion Theatre

Reviewed – 27th August 2018


“a humorous and engaging script that is delivered well on stage”


In a world where artificial intelligence is playing a key role in our lives, it seems hugely appropriate that theatre should explore it and the impact it has on human life. In Welcome Home, we are introduced to two young women, Jess and Enoch, who live together with an aBode, “the market leader in home assistance”. The aBode does everything from controlling the apartment’s security and surveillance to ordering groceries. The two housemates barely need to lift a finger as almost all daily tasks are taken care of with ease. However, it soon transpires the aBode may have sinister intentions and does not merely exist to provide assistance to the two housemates.

Amali Jazeel (Enoch) and Jemma Burgess (Jess) are convincing as housemates who appear to get on, but also clash occasionally. The two actors keep up a good level of energy throughout and hold the audience’s attention well. Sarah Cahill (both writer and director) has produced a humorous and engaging script that is delivered well on stage. Even during the darker sections of the play, humour is still found within lines from the aBode and its interactions with Enoch and Jess. The aBode glows blue and changes to red in more sinister moments, which makes for a nice design element.

Running at just over half an hour, the play is a little on the short side and could benefit from an extended running time, allowing for more of a build-up of the story and a chance for us to learn about the characters and scenarios in more depth.

A dark, yet entertaining exploration of the power and impact of artificial intelligence, Welcome Home is highly relevant for modern audiences. It should, no doubt, prompt discussion surrounding the rate at which technology is progressing and audiences’ own use of it, as well as the potential artificial intelligence has to grow.


Reviewed by Emily K Neal


Welcome Home

Old Red Lion Theatre



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