All of Me (5 stars)

This article is from 2019

All of Me

credit: Ed Collier

The abyss gazes back in this impressive offering from Caroline Horton

For a show dedicated to suicide, All of Me begins with an unusually comical prologue. As writer and performer Caroline Horton strides around stage in pyjamas and a sequinned bomber jacket, she warns that the upcoming show is not what she envisaged. The scenery was not meant for this production, the title was not printed correctly in the programme, and she was not meant to succumb to a debilitating depressive episode months before the premiere.

This playful metatextuality foreshadows the powerful central tension that underpins this show. Much as Horton's control fails when it comes to the technicalities of the play, her semi-autobiographical character loses herself to the dark pit of depression, despite desperately trying to construct her world through hauntingly sung soundscapes, artistic costume changes, and the comforting narrative structure of myth. It is only when Horton learns to resist the tension of control, to surrender to the void, that she finds hope within the darkness.

Creatively staged and gorgeously written, the beating heart of All of Me is without a doubt Horton, who displays an almost unparalleled sensitivity to this difficult subject matter. Charismatic, eccentric and raw, Horton lays bare her struggle through mental illness, crafting an honest and deeply personal artist's impression of her own psyche. Equal parts beautiful and challenging, All of Me resists easy answers and is all the more compelling for it.

Summerhall, until 25 Aug (not 12, 19), 3.10pm, £15 (£10).

All of Me

  • 5 stars

Show about depression, death, wanting to live and wanting to die by Olivier Award nominee Caroline Horton.