Review: Antler Theatre’s ‘Lands’
By Anuli Changa
One woman perpetually jumping on a trampoline (Sophie), the other obsessively inspecting and building puzzles (Leah) – stuck in their own worlds?
The actress playing Leah was very relatable and friendly as the audience filed into their seats. She had impeccable comedic timing throughout, but particularly as she inspected each puzzle piece with a rather pedantic air.
There were numerous instances of fourth wall breaking. These worked because of their subtlety, taking the form of a nod or funny face to the audience: we felt like we were never forgotten. A frequent occurrence in the show was one of the two actresses calling up to Rachel in the sound box, asking her to change the lighting or to pick a particular song.
A stand out moment was a synchronised routine the two women did when Leah found a connecting piece of the puzzle. Impressively, Sophie didn’t cease bouncing on the trampoline throughout the dance routine.
‘Lands’ was uncomfortably funny in a very clever way. The audience didn’t know whether they should laugh at an absurd moment, perhaps for fear that it would turn into a sombre one. On the occasion that there was only one laugh in response, that audience member seemed to shrink away from the laugh.
We all began to wonder if Sophie would keep jumping on the trampoline and really never get off (she did). She really impressed with her ability to conduct full conversations whilst still jumping and also switch from the triviality of jumping to the fear of never being about to escape.
The physicality, synchronicity and chemistry of the two women was clearly well rehearsed. Leah’s monologues were standouts of this performance. It felt slightly disjointed to go from comedy to her these powerful monologues. Leah went from lecturing Sophie about all she would miss if she never got off the trampoline (which she promised she was incapable of doing), to telling her she didn’t exist. These were poignant and thought-provoking moments, I was just unsure how they fit in with the rest, perhaps the mismatch as intended.
‘Lands’ was an interesting dissection of relationships and how people can be selfishly stuck in their old world, unfortunately, some of this was lost in translation.