Theatre review: Hold on Let Go, Summerhall, Edinburgh

Hold On Let Go has a recipe for every situation. Picture: Contributed
Hold On Let Go has a recipe for every situation. Picture: Contributed
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A show to remember

Hold on Let Go, Summerhall, Edinburgh * * * *

How memory works or doesn’t work, how we remember things and how much we forget are the themes for this devised show by Newcastle-based Unfolding Theatre. The two performers, Luca Rutherford and Alex Elliott, orbit around these questions, making diversions into astronomy, bread-making, disco dancing and evaporating black holes, while cheerfully telling us we’ll have forgotten most of it by tomorrow.

Their impressive kitchen set has a working oven (Alex makes sourdough bread every night from dough prepared during the previous show) and a clever metal table which can also double as a ladder to the stars. Musician and lyricist Paul Smith (Maximo Park) contributes new songs and runs the show’s radio station Too Much Information FM.

The subjects touched on appear to be endless, from being unable to remember the sound of your late mother’s voice to inexplicably forgetting the word ‘fennel’; from tips on remembering a shopping list, to committing new people to memory according to the way they dance.

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Things take a more serious turn in the last 15 minutes as the show examines Spain’s ‘Pact of Forgetting’ after Franco, and the notion that some behaviour might be best forgotten versus the need for some stories to be heard.

Annie Rigby’s production is packed with clever ideas, perhaps too many of them. However, the infectious energy and good humour of the two performers does a lot to carry us through some impressive associative leaps and detours. Hold On Let Go raises lots of interesting questions, even if it doesn’t quite get round to answering them. As a broad-ranging ramble through the subject, it’s impressive, even if not entirely satisfying.

Until 25 August

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