Theatre review: Total Immediate Collective Imminent Terrestrial Salvation, The Studio, Edinburgh

A good book, so they say, can take a reader into a different world.

Tim Crouch's new work explores the transformative power of story.

Theatre Review: Total Immediate Collective Imminent Terrestrial Salvation, The Studio, Edinburgh * * * *

In his latest work, revered British theatre-maker Tim Crouch engineers a deliberate collision between theatre and reading by creating a show in which each audience member finds a beautiful book on their seat, containing not only the script for the strangely gripping 70-minute drama that’s about to unfold, but also pages of exquisite illustrations by Rachana Jadhav, which help to tell the story.

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The actor Susan Vidler enters, and invites us to start reading the book with her, as she presents the character of Anna, who has lost one child to a terrible accident, and the other to a strange parallel world invented by her estranged husband, Miles, after the tragedy. She is joined by Shyvonne Ahmmad as Sol, her long-lost daughter, now a fervent member of her father’s cult, which believes that the world is about to end that very day.

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Crouch himself appears as Miles, in a scorchingly precise performance. And the underlying suggestion of this disturbing, strange and beautiful show is that through reading, storytelling and theatre – we know far more about parallel universes than is commonly acknowledged; and about how to shift from one reality to another, simply by turning a page.

Until 25 August