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The otherworldly sound of a finger being drawn round the rim of a wine glass is put to good use in this show. ‘Lands of Glass’ is infused by beautiful noises made from xylophones, vases and drums - all made from glass.
Music is an important part of Unfolding Theatre’s piece, adapted from Alessandro Barrico’s Italian novel. It tells the tale of a strange town of Quinnipack, a place that’s hard to get to and even harder to leave. The show's characters make their individual journeys – the beautiful Jun who arrived one day and who will leave soon too, the manic Mr Rail who is building a magnificent railway, the lost Pehnt who was found on a doorstep in a man’s coat and the talented Old Andersson who makes glass like no one else.
They are characters not unlike those from a Mervyn Peake novel: all tied up in their surreal world and disconnected from the reality outside the town’s limits. But although several of the plot threads are sweetly engaging, and the cast draw the many characters well, there are too many of each for us to feel really connected to any. It's especially hard if you're not familiar with the book, as it takes a long time to unwrap the narrative.
The set hides many of the glass instruments at the beginning in big wooden boxes, which are unpacked as the show progresses. But ultimately the boxes inhibit the staging – especially in this tiny lecture space in Summerhall – and it all feels on top of each other.
It’s a nice idea – creating a piece with the help of noise made by glass, but more time should have been spent crafting the drama rather than the instruments.
By Daisy Bowie-Sell