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Review: Lands of Glass – The Lowry, Salford Quays

SalfordOnline.com Rating: 2.5 out of 5

While the beauty of playing music on glass instruments shone through here, Unfolding Theatre’s Lands of Glass presented a disjointed narrative in this Lowry performance.

Maybe it’s the unique, avant-garde nature of this piece that means it plays to a half-empty Studio theatre.

An adaptation of the Alessandro Baricco’s novel, it’s a mixture of straight acting together with music which is played on specially made glass instruments which includes a xylophone, chimes and even a Sauvignon–Blancophone…

The audience, although small in number, participate when asked by the players.

The actors and musicians invite you to the town of Quinnipak, where you meet Mr Rail and his wife Jun together with Old Anderson who works at the glass works which Rail owns.

A further duo who have an integral part of this production are Pekisch and Pehnt. There are a few other characters; however all of the above together with the music are played by just five performers.

Mr Rail is a glass factory owner who appears with a son, who you do not actually see.

He buys a railway engine and dreams of constructing a 200km railway line; he also becomes involved with the building of a crystal palace.

Pekish the musician is searching for notes only he can hear, and the orphan Pehnt is trying not to grow into the coat that is his destiny. There are other threads regarding loss, imagination and desire running through the piece.

The narrative of the piece is disjointed in my opinion and I found it difficult to comprehend on any meaningful level.

There are too many themes to consider at any one time and the above is only a small selection of what is presented, and you are expected to link all these together with little help from the performers.

One saving grace is the music, which in itself is extremely imaginative.

From my perspective the piece was just too avant-garde or maybe I just need a little more clarity to the plot.

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Tom is SalfordOnline.com's News Editor and community co-ordinator.