Review: Rewind

Unearthing truth and struggle in Latin America

theatre review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Photo by H├ęctor Manchego
Published 13 Aug 2023

This powerful show starts in the light and ends in the dark. Ephemeral Ensemble’s Rewind explores human rights abuses in Latin America, with the five-strong cast playing boiler-suited forensic anthropologists investigating an unmarked mass grave. Directed by Ramon Ayres, the team unearth bones and belongings from a single wheelbarrow, turning back time with each freshly dug artefact. The more they uncover, the more we learn about murdered young activist Alicia, as well as her denim-clad friends and her bereaved mother (played by Eyglo Belafonte), who wanders the stage shrouded in light, holding an image of her missing daughter.

Besides Andres Velasquez’ important prologue, Rewind is told through dynamic movement rather than wordy explanation. Surging live music from Alex Paton illuminates the stage, and the ensemble (including Josephine Tremelling and Louise Wilcox) move with urgency, dashing left and right to create a street party or protest. Occasionally this haste clouds the narrative, as in the literal rewind scene depicting Alicia’s childhood, but this thrilling, passionate performance keeps heart rates sky high. Culminating in a devastating courtroom scene, the genius of this flexible set comes into full relief: the huge filing cabinet at the back of the stage has already been a living-room, and a wall for graffiti, but now it is a limbo for history’s innumerable unidentified bodies. Few words, all action, Rewind digs up the past to fight for the future.