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Instructions for Border Crossing review at Summerhall, Edinburgh – ‘a layered and intriguing piece’

Instructions for Border Crossing. Photo: Alex Brenner Instructions for Border Crossing. Photo: Alex Brenner

Our world is filled with borders. We have, as a species, a tendency to draw lines around ourselves. The policing of these lines, who gets to cross them and how freely, is one of the recurring themes at this year’s Fringe, and it’s one explored explicitly by Daniel Bye’s Instructions for Border Crossing.

The show is framed as a response to a performance artist and activist called Edward Shorter, a near-mythic (indeed, fictional) figure whose work is designed to disrupt such spaces.

Bye gets the audience to enact Shorter’s texts, making them into the voice of authority and power. He invites people on stage to play Jenga with him while discussing the things they’re afraid of or the things that give them courage. He laments that fact that he is not as radical as Shorter, and that he’s unwilling to give up property-ownership for the cause – or champagne, for that matter.

He does this while also telling us the story of a young girl who ends up subject to interrogation after trying to cross the border back into the UK. Can real and radical change to the world we live in be achieved without some sort of cost? Can art be part of that process?

This is a layered and intriguing piece and Bye’s an engaging performer and storyteller, even if the show’s exploration of complacency and complicity feels a bit heavy-handed at times.

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Layered and questioning performance piece exploring the capacity of art to create change