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Extinguished Things review at Summerhall, Edinburgh – ‘restrained exploration of the traces we leave behind’

Extinguished Things at Summerhall, Edinburgh

Writer-performer Molly Taylor unpacks the lives of the couple she grew up down the street from. A jumble of memories, objects and incidents, this fictional reconstruction of a couple’s life looks at sex, race, love and grief. While extraordinary meaning can blossom from ordinary lives, deeper resonance is missing in this thoughtful but gentle story.

Taylor has ended a relationship and finds herself living back with her parents at age 35. Just to get a little space she uses the neighbour’s keys to hide out in their home while they are away. Taylor tells us about Alton and Evie and their 40 years in this house together. Scrolling back in time, Taylor starts with the last time she saw them and imagines all the way back to their first weekend together. As an interracial couple, Taylor includes their frightening experiences during the Toxteth riots and difficult memories Alton kept from Evie.

Yet, Alton and Evie never quite come to life. The story contemplates the blissful start of relationships when life stretches out before you filled with the unknown as well as legacy and loss at the end of life. But despite Taylor’s storytelling skills, those ideas do not reverberate emotionally.

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