The Archive of Educated Hearts (4 stars)

The Archive of Educated Hearts

Quiet, reflective storytelling intimately tackling mortality

In what feels like an artefact-crammed garden shed tucked behind the Pleasance Courtyard, there's a show of quiet, fragile magic.

Casey Jay Andrews' solo performance The Archive of Educated Hearts lasts barely half an hour, and invites just a tiny audience into its intimate space stuffed full of books, photos and the ephemera of several lives. But the themes it tackles – nimbly and with unexpected power – are profound: empathy and emotional intelligence; illness and mortality; and our need to capture and celebrate the fleeting instances of our lives.

Blending personal storytelling with philosophical reflections on the need for human kindness, Andrews transforms what might have been a well-meaning but somewhat slight reflection on the impact of cancer into something far more universal. She's a disarmingly informal performer, sliding gracefully between perspectives as she gradually recounts her family's history, gently nudging lighting and audio cues herself from her storyteller's seat. In-your-face it isn't.

But if you're in need of a moment of quiet reflection, and an invitation to consider our shared humanity and potential for generosity, The Archive of Educated Hearts provides a wonderfully warm environment of quiet and calm away from the festival hubbub.

Pleasance Courtyard, until 27 Aug (not 13, 20), times vary, £7 (£6.50).

The Archive of Educated Hearts

  • 4 stars

Intimate storytelling installation made up of relics and keepsakes that represent the moments that make up a lifetime, crafted from true stories of families facing breast cancer.

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