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Lands at Summerhall, Edinburgh review – ‘affective and eloquent’

Sophie Steer and Leah Brotherhead in Lands. Photo: Meurig Marshall Sophie Steer and Leah Brotherhead in Lands. Photo: Meurig Marshall

Sophie can’t stop bouncing. She’s on a trampoline and she can’t get off. She claims she can but she can’t.

Beside her, Leah is doing a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle and documenting the process. Both activities are consuming and compulsive. Sophie’s bouncing starts to distract Leah. She does all she can to get Sophie to stop and Sophie tries, she really, really tries, and she briefly even succeeds, but pretty soon she’s back to bouncing.

In this way the trampoline becomes a symbol, of addiction possibly, or the implosion of a relationship, perhaps even of depression; maybe some combination of the three. The trampoline is its own little universe. It makes intimacy all but impossible and it keeps the two of them apart. Leah’s feelings towards Sophie shift from concern through irritation into anger.

While the piece never states the nature of the bond between Sophie and Leah, it doesn’t need to. It’s such a potent and well-thought-out metaphor. Jasmine Woodcock-Stewart’s production manages to be delicate and poignant while also acknowledging the humour inherent in the situation. Watching someone attempt to drink a glass of water while jiggling on a trampoline is very funny and the show knows it.

Steer’s physical commitment is impressive – she bounces for the best part of an hour – and while the structure of the piece could be tighter, it’s still very affective and eloquent about the harm we sometimes do to ourselves and the people who care about us.

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Devised physical theatre two-hander that uses a trampoline as a potent metaphor