Everything Not Saved by Malaprop Theatre – Summerhall, Edinburgh
Malaprop Theatre’s new show is about the unreliability of memory in a time of relentless recording. Although the digitised world generates endless versions of ourselves, we have come to realise they only serve to obscure any idea of truth. We will exist after we have gone, but Everything Not Saved aims to show that any version of the self we recognise will be long gone.
The show questions our ability to distinguish reality in any meaningful way at all. While the subject has potential, Malaprop’s approach seems underdeveloped and lacking focus. Three performers act out tangentially related scenes, on a set with stage manager who continually intrudes. They skip from the recreation of Princess Elizabeth’s first broadcast, to an training interview for officers interviewing children about abuse to an audition to play Rasputin. This eclecticism, while entertaining, reveals the fundamental problem behind the show, that it cannot decide what it wants to say. A range of semi-related subjects, including competing versions of history, conflicting memories of experience events, the nature of digital memory and the playing of roles. Too much ground is covered for any clarity to emerge, and the dancing Rasputin finale does not provide enough distraction to make up for this.