Review: The Dead Memory House, Summerhall (Venue 26)

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The three-woman team of Theatre Corsair has transformed a suite of rooms in Summerhall into an immersive theatrical experience. We leave a corridor in the old vet school and step into Sylvia’s flat, fully furnished right down to the books on the shelves, dishes in the dresser and the postcards on the walls.

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The past is everywhere in these rooms, in the eclectic retro furniture – as if passed down by a clutch of relatives – and the old photographs kept in jars. This time capsule becomes the container for the stories of three women: Anne (Leah Georges), flirty, provocative, and struggling to recover from a bad relationship; Sylvia (Laura Corbett), the mother figure in the trio, who longs desperately for a child; and Bea (Hanna Harlyn), childlike and watchful.

The show is an odd mixture of realism and abstraction, at times close to dance. It’s episodic and fragmented, deliberately so, in order to encourage us – the audience – to find our own memories and experiences in the gaps. This is an ambitious idea, but it results in a play which is disjointed and, at times, unclear, despite the effort which has gone into creating such an evocative atmosphere.

Until 26 August. Today 3pm and 6pm.