Reviews | Written by Ed Fortune 28/08/2022

You Know We Belong Together – Edinburgh International Festival

Over at Starburst Towers, we’ve seen a great many theatrical shows in which one person emotes their love for a particular TV show. Typically it’s Star Trek, Star Wars or Doctor Who, but in the case of You Know We Belong Together, it’s all about Home and Away, the Australian soap opera that has been around so long it’s become part of the scenery. Most of these sort of things tend to maudlin nostalgia fests, but You Know We Belong Together is not your typical look into the past.

Julia Hales is 38-year old woman from Perth, Australia who is still looking for the love of her life, was raised by a lively and loving family and has deep love for Home and Away, so much so that it inspired her to become a performer. She even has her own ‘self-insert’ Home and Away character,  much like anyone else who’s enjoyed a show so much they’ve written fan-fiction.

Julia also has an extra chromosome, or to put it another way, she has Down’s Syndrome. As do several of her friends who take part in the show. The performance we saw had some changes due to Covid complications; several of the cast where unavailable due to quarantine, and a combination of pre-recorded video and stand-ins were used to keep the production going. This, obviously, reduced the impact of some of the show’s key points, but the overall effect did not seem to be diminished.

Because this is a show about people and their lives. An everyday tale of everyday folk. Just like Home and Way. The genius of this show is the way that it ultimately about the people love each other, and it derives so much humour from this that it impossible not to find it relatable.

They are elements of a polemic to this. Julia points out how poorly the disabled have been treated by Australian law in the past, and the audience are gently invited to examine their own prejudices. Overall this is a show about love and family, one presented with incredibly empathy and understanding, but also warm humour and incredible awareness. You Know We Belong Together is unique and worth seeking out.