8:8 (4 stars)

This article is from 2019


credit: Mischa Robert

Eight performers meet eight audience members in an intimate reflection on judgement and compassion

Zurich-based Mercimax theatre company were inspired to put together the brief, intimate 8:8 by the decision, approved by Swiss voters, to expel from the country foreign visitors convicted of crimes. It's a deceptively slight work, one whose 25-minute length and miniature resources belie the huge impact of what it addresses.

And with such a short, seemingly simple work, to give too much away about its content would spoil its surprises. Let's just say there are eight performers, eight audience members, a first half that invites judgement, and a second half that invites reconsideration of that judgement. And a reflection afterwards about how you – probably inevitably – formed those judgements, and why you might have reconsidered them.

Bringing together non-professionals from the Edinburgh community alongside international performers, 8:8 playfully interweaves appearance and reality, truth and deception, asking us how much we can truly know about a person from how they appear, what they choose to reveal, and what they might whisper to a confidant. It's confrontational in its own friendly way, and almost as much to do with performers judging the audience members watching them. Underneath it all, though, in the compassion and connection that 8:8 generates, it feels like vital theatre for troubled times.

Summerhall, until 25 August (not 12, 19), times vary, £8.


  • 4 stars

Mercimax, Swiss Selection Edinburgh Eight ordinary people stand before eight spectators. But how ordinary are they really? Can you trust how people look and what they say? What makes someone a suspect? With a diverse cast of eight accomplices drawn from the Edinburgh community, this intimate play of truth and deception…