Caroline Horton’s production All of Me is a masterclass in the feelings and all-embracing nature of mental illness. Lured in by an incredibly personable and humour-filled introduction. You somehow wonder what journey you went on in the theatre space to get to the end.
Whilst the performance starts full of apologies, this is not an apologetic performance. This is a performance which bears all bones about living with depression and suicidal thoughts. It is about enabling an audience to feel uncomfortable, to empathise on, to appreciate that there is as much chance of recovery as not. This is not a show with a happy ending. The happy ending is that more people leave aware of the realities of living with mental illness.
Through All of Me, Horton takes us through a narrative of her life alongside the presentation of a myth- the apparent motive for the play. Overlaid and interspersed, there is a feeling of broken. Neither fully landing as the pace moves, accelerates and slows down.
The audience needs to keep up with the inconsistency of the pace to absorb, and sometimes it feels this is an impossible task. Probably echoing life with any form of illness. There feels a question left. Is there too much for an audience to absorb if they only have empathy in their corner? As time is taken to reflect, the moments of artistic genius are found, and inhaled.
In our current existence, there cannot be too many conversations about living with, and supporting those who live with mental illness. Caroline Horton’s production enables the conversation to be opened. For her perspective of mental illness to be presented, unpacked, and left open.
All of Me is at the Summerhall as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. You can see the production at 16.50 until Sunday 25th August (excl 19th).
Disclosure: This review is part of media accreditation for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe through the Network of Independent Critics. All views and opinions contained are my own.