All of Me - or All of Me, as we are told the show was supposed to be titled - documents one woman’s experience of depression and suicidal tendencies in a brutally honest and impactful manner. Opening with the house lights up, we are greeted by solo performer Caroline Horton, who boldly apologises to us for what we are about to watch. Though she acknowledges that it is considered ‘bad practice’ to start a show by saying sorry, she does so nonetheless in a humorous yet bitterly sad series of apologies, mainly acknowledging that we will not, in fact, be getting ‘all of her’. We, as an audience, are immediately on her side; it is hard not to be in the face of such refreshing honesty.
However, from then on the performance somewhat lost its momentum. Though the concept (discussing her experience of depression via a retelling of a myth) is a relatively effective one - albeit somewhat unoriginal (as Horton acknowledges) - the execution doesn’t quite do the idea and the theme justice. Amidst the heavy and sporadic uses of sound technology, lighting effects and costume changes, any sense of narrative and purpose got a bit lost. Though it could be argued that the disorientation that occurred as a result of this was a conscious choice made to mimic the experience of a mind in turmoil, for me that just doesn’t quite do it; I was left feeling a general sense of disconnection from the whole production. However, a slight saving grace did come at the end, in the form of a rather effective speech describing a party to which a plethora of human emotions were invited: lust mixed with passion, while loneliness sat observing in the corner. This offered a really clear sense of the state of a brain riddled with wildly uncontrollable emotions in a highly relatable, yet poetic manner.
Overall I would say that ‘All of Me’ offers a fairly original and interesting insight into Horton’s experience of depression, but it is somewhat let down by the general delivery of the central plot of the production. The play is most certainly an acquired taste but, should you be interested in gaining more of an insight into a real individual’s experience of depression, Horton’s take is probably as brutally honest as you’re going to get.