All of Me

An abandoned party; a neglected bedroom; a cluttered AV desk. All of these labels could be attached to the strew of wires, sandbags, fabrics and lamps which greet us as we enter the space for All Of Me, writer and performer Caroline Horton’s latest collaboration with director Alex Swift. This one-woman show probes the internal and external repercussions of a mind and body living (just about) with depression - and just like the stage we find ourselves on, it is messy, stimulating and more than a little fantastical.

A sublime exploration of the discourse between death, depression and the drive to keep going

Horton’s hesitant, apologetic presence belies her undeniable magnetism as a performer. Initial greetings are delivered with the humility of a house-owner who has not tidied up before their guests have arrived, as we are informed of what has been changed, added or removed (whether truthfully or not) since the show’s previous incarnation. Moments of absurdist humour such as this punctuate the skin of the production throughout, allowing for some much needed breathing space around the openly dark subject matter. There is something wonderfully ‘anti’ about the acknowledgment of what has not been included in a production, particularly as this proves to not always be the case; the microphones and audio equipment which were supposedly onstage by accident soon become a pivotal part of separating and distorting the identities that Horton explores throughout the show. If Forced Entertainment offered mental health support, it would look a little like this.

Both disarmingly candid and impeccably self-aware, Horton relentlessly probes the line between being ‘okay’ and ‘not okay’ – when a formal introduction takes place, “as is polite”, it is in the form of a sing-song monologue that slowly spirals away from the usual facts about one’s upbringing or career, delving into deeper insecurities usually only revealed to more intimate acquaintances. This ongoing dance with our darker psyche is both figuratively and literally realised onstage, as club rhythms, Bowie-esque glamour and tribal ululations bring a fierce desperation to the search for a peaceful resolution. Contrast this with moments of absolute stillness amongst the mess, and the line no longer divides 'okay' and 'not okay' but something more fundamentally human; what it is to be alive, and how to embrace the possibility of the alternative.

As part of a wider conversation at this year's Fringe on sustaining and supporting the mental wellbeing of all who attend, it’s welcome to see a programme which lists useful contacts for anyone who is affected by the topics covered in this performance. For those who are interested in exploring the more avant-garde offerings of Summerhall, All Of Me is a sublime exploration of the discourse between death, depression and the drive to keep going which will strike a chord with punters and performers alike.

Reviews by Kay Tee

theSpace on the Mile

10:31, MCR

★★★
Bedlam Theatre

Standard:Elite

★★★★
Gilded Balloon Teviot

Ray Bradshaw: Deafinitely Baby

★★★★
PBH's Free Fringe @ Bar Bados Complex

Cauliflower

★★★★
Assembly George Square

beep boop

★★★
Summerhall

All of Me

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

China Plate, Cambridge Junction and The Yard Theatre present All of Me by Caroline Horton. 'Hello, I thought I'd introduce myself properly. As is polite.' An intimate and absurd exploration of wanting to live, wanting to die and what can happen if we sit together with the dark. Caroline reunites with director Alex Swift (Mess, How to Win Against History) to bring you the show that happens after the curtain call, when the lights have gone down but the mess remains. 'Comes perilously close to genius' **** (Time Out, on Mess).

Most Popular See More

Back to the Future - The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Cinderella The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets