Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Edinburgh Festival

Sign Up For Fringe Awards Voting Alerts:

EDINBURGH 2019: BWW Review: 8:8, Summerhall

EDINBURGH 2019: BWW Review: 8:8, Summerhall

EDINBURGH 2019: BWW Review: 8:8, SummerhallEight audience members sit in a bright, sparsely furnished room. We are joined by eight Edinburgh residents who stand silently in the space, occasionally moving in a precise fashion, letting us see them in different positions and at different angles, taking in everything.

The frisson of expectation and awareness of theatrical norms leads to immediate attempts to interpret as much as possible about the performers in front of us, questioning the significance of their clothes, their gaze, and each movement. Playful moments make clear the performers are aware of these judgements, and aware of us.

Eventually, the silence is broken and we are given a glimpse into the performers' lives, firstly through direct address and then private confession. The physical closeness of the eight performers, mirroring the audience, makes for an intense experience, and audience members could be forgiven for feeling as much under the microscope as the cast.

Intimate performances are common at the Fringe, but the individual directness of this performance takes it to another level. There is an element of silent dialogue existing with the performer with whom you are paired, learning things that may contradict your initial judgements.

Pro Helvetia conceived 8:8 as a piece in response to Swiss law on mandatory deportation for foreigners who have committed crimes, putting forward the idea that the more you know about someone, the harder it is to condemn them.

It certainly succeeds in encouraging audience members to challenge preconceptions and reflect on how easily we judge people, though it seemed more effective as a snapshot of Edinburgh and its diverse residents rather than having the necessary bite to challenge deportation laws.

8:8 is certainly not a work for the faint-hearted - not necessarily because of content, but because of the immense closeness between audience member and performer. Some will find it uncomfortable, others will enjoy the sense of connection.

Either way, 8:8 is an intriguing, intimate and intense piece that may encourage you to think differently about those around you.

8:8 is at Summerhall until 25 August (not 19).

Click here to vote in our Edinburgh Fringe Festival Awards!

Related Articles

From This Author Amy Hanson