Everything Not Saved @ Summerhall

Everything Not Saved is a fiercely intelligent exploration of memory that's both wicked smart and playful as a kitten

Review by Jamie Dunn | 22 Aug 2018
  • Everything Not Saved

Photographs lie. As do history books. And don’t get us started on our minds. We are the unreliable witnesses to our own lives, forever misremembering key details of our experiences or warping them even, shaping them into fantasy without realising it. In Dylan Coburn Gray’s Everything Not Saved, these memory glitches are considered over three fiercely intelligent vignettes, each of which are introduced by confrontational off-stage narrators of various ages (a young girl, a young woman and a middle-aged woman) who begin to question our memories and challenge us to recall what we’ve just seen and heard.

This questioning continues through the scenes themselves. Everything Not Saved’s three engaging performers – Breffni Holahan, John Doran and Maeve O’Mahony – blithely cross time and space as their various characters come up against questions of memory in the past and present. In one, a freelance documentarian reenacts a moment from history from a different angle, with her ex-girlfriend playing a young Queen Elizabeth II; they start to think moments from their relationship were similarly staged. In another, a police officer gets a phoney confession out of a forensic actor who channels his own foggy memories of trauma into his work. While in a third, three more actors audition to play Rasputin in a pop promo, and afterward start to wonder what they really know about the Russian mystic beyond the content of the Boney M song.

Both wicked smart and playful as a kitten, Everything Not Saved will have you questioning everything you just saw, along with your own life, as you leave the theatre. Actually, scratch that, you’ll probably be too busy milling over the play’s baroque, blood-soaked, batshit crazy denouement to get too philosophical in the bar afterwards. The existential questioning will come later – if you can remember the content of the play, that is.

Everything Not Saved, Summerhall (Old Lab), 1-26Aug (not 2, 13 & 20), £8-£10

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