Lands (3 stars)

This article is from 2017


Even without a clear narrative, this is clearly anxious art

From an apparently comic scenario – one performer can't stop jumping on a trampoline, the other is obsessing with jigsaws – Lands evolves into a funny yet ultimately uncomfortable look at the inevitable tensions between individuals forced to exist together. While the repetition of the confrontations pulls the structure out of shape, and hammers home the message, it is a hearteningly ambitious show that uses its whacky premise to dig deeper into the problems of personality.

Both trampoline and jigsaw become symbols of undisclosed anxieties, disrupting the performers ability to relate to each other and even perform basic tasks. Their initial friendship degenerates thanks to their obsessive behaviour and even a brief reconciliation through the magic of music can't last.

By keeping the symbolism obscure – the trampoline might signify the jittering movements compelled by angst, the jigsaw a form of obsessive compulsive disorder – Lands mostly avoids being too explicit, simply allowing the irritations to build. A late speech about solipsism over-emphasises the intentions of the duo – yes, people are self-interested – but there are moments of drama as one tries to disrupt the other's compulsive activity.

It runs a little too long – having made the move from funny to serious, the ending is stretched across unnecessary epilogues – but reveals a pair of artists emerging towards sophisticated performance that retains its seriousness and sense of humour.

Summerhall, run ended.


  • 3 stars

The award-winning Antler return to the fringe with a playful, intimate dissection of a relationship teetering on the edge of collapse.