Hold On Let Go (3 stars)

This article is from 2019

Hold On Let Go

credit: Luke Waddington

Gentle, rambling hour about memory, forgetting and bread

Alex and Luca are two friends who stand around in a kitchen and explore Alex's memories as he makes bread. Luca is 28; Alex is double her age. Luca is terrified of forgetting and being forgotten, while Alex doesn't mind so much. As they wait for the bread to bake, there's plenty of inspired tabletop dancing, as well as meditations on black holes and the Spanish Civil War. What arises from this mixture is a gentle hour of storytelling that explores the consequences of forgetting, but also of the invisible forces that shape our lives.

Despite the performers' chemistry and the essential poignancy of the topic, the emotional heft of Hold On Let Go is distributed unevenly; for though the show reveals an intimate sense of Alex as a person, Luca functions as little more than his sounding board throughout. Moreover, aside from the bread rising in the oven and a cloying radio voiceover, the show lacks any sense of structure, and this rambling format often makes certain scenes, such as Luca's cosmic monologues, feel overlong and tedious.

Yet Hold On Let Go is not without its moments of profundity. When the show subtly gestures towards how we carry forgotten lives and conflicts within us, it hits upon a powerful vein of emotion. Thus at the end, when the audience partakes of the fresh bread, there certainly is a sense of history and unseen life being created and shared, even if it will have been forgotten by tomorrow.

Summerhall, until 25 Aug, 8.40pm, £10 (£8).

Hold On Let Go

  • 3 stars

Unfolding Theatre stages this play about memory and what happens when we forget something important that could change the world.