Adrift @ Summerhall

Review by Dale Neuringer | 03 Mar 2014

In attending Adrift, a spoken word cinematic performance put on by Screen Bandita and Ryan Van Winkle at Summerhall, do not be fooled for a moment by the homespun look of the fairy lit and crowded theatre, nor the easy charm of Ryan Van Winkle, the evening’s resident compere and poet. Lest the offerings of popcorn, Ryan’s really delightful mustache, and the general American warmth throw you off, this evening is casual but highly ceremonious, a screen-lit journey down the rabbit hole of sentimentality and familiarity. Ryan Van Winkle invites you as the lights go down to drift with him through his “home videos,” yet Adrift manages to use footage and language to send us all to our home, to somewhere beyond comprehension, that transcends a describable place or specific geographic location. This is a piece of art that winds subtly around our hearts to a soundtrack of old projectors, vintage recordings and words that sound like our memories.

Adrift weaves together aural and visual vignettes that serve, as one, to displace us wholly in time, and transport us to moments and landscapes spanning the globe and our emotions. Short and sweetly sad, Adrift uses the spoken word to capture specific moments and feelings, of places or people, and the strength of the narrator and his work makes for an utterly moving, non-linear exploration of the world we live in, and the people that live or have lived upon it. It is difficult not to build an imperturbable connection to the moments Ryan speaks of over gramophone recordings and images of times past, one that leaves you with an overwhelming desire to call someone close to you, and talk about a beloved memory or just tell them that you love them.

The forty five minute performance is over in a heartbeat, leaving us with a sense of longing for home, and a sense of already being there. As it ends by the initial invitation, to drift through “home videos,” it allows us to drift, to our own homes, or the homes and places we have loved in the past. Adrift is a truly wonderful performance, one that re-invigorates one’s perception of spoken word and its possibilities.  


Screen Bandita and Ryan Van Winkle, Adrift, Summerhall, 11 Feb, 7.30 pm, £5