Review: 8:8 (Summerhall)

August 19, 2019

It seems that every Fringe there is a competition between a select group of shows to be the most intimate. In Jessica Huber and Kerin Arnold’s 8:8, 8 Edinburgh residents are faced with 8 audience members (on the expectation, that is, that all audience members attend). I should say that for those of you who are attending this (now sold out) show, this review contains spoilers.


The show is only half an hour long, half of which consists of a physical theatre that looks like theatre games. They divide themselves up, hop sideways across the room, and form patterns. If there is any meaning behind it, it is lost. I would guess that it was engaging to be involved with, but in the same way as amateur theatre, it may have more meaning for the creators than for the audience.


The second half has more to offer. Sitting down, they address all of us, telling us details about their lives; some are personal, some are political. Then each performer places headphones on their opposite audience member. We then hear something personal about that performer, whilst maintaining eye contact as we hear their story. It breaks barriers between performer and audience member, between gaining a perception of them and understanding them. It may not be as revolutionary as Huber and Kerin were hoping. I suspect their audiences will consist of individuals who are already empathetic and non-judgemental(to attend a show like this, it is difficult not to be). Nevertheless, it is an unexpected and rather special experience unlike anything at this year's Fringe. It's just a pity that what leads up to it is almost entirely fluff. Three stars.





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