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A Thousand Shards of Glass – Albany Theatre, Deptford

Writer: Ben Pacey

Director: Jane Packman

Reviewer: Kate Klatsken

[rating:4]

A Thousand Shards of Glass cr Chris Keenan (6)_1Jane Packman Company present A Thousand Shards of Glass, a story about Lucy (Lucy Ellinson) a resistance heroin intent on bringing down the shiny veneer of the world she finds herself in. Inspired by insurrectionist text, it exposes a surveillance society as she takes us with her on an action adventure across continents from the Arctic to Cairo to London, each time conjuring vivid and evocative scenes in her quest to save the world.

This is not a conventional evening at the theatre, we are greeted by Lucy who selects and guides us in small groups into a 30 seated theatre space. She bargains with me for camels and the lady beside me is complimented on her fantastic glasses (although she isn’t wearing any) but all is later revealed as we are deftly involved and made to feel complicit in the story.

A circle of lights mark the playing area, in this intimate space our faces are unnervingly lit and readable by the whole audience, however we are assured that we will not be on stage as Lucy will be doing all the work. True to her word, she leads us through the unfolding story with grace. Ellinson is an honest and natural performer in absolute command of her craft, the language and the room. In this piece her storytelling takes a grip and doesn’t let go.

The language is beautifully crafted with vivid imagery and detail that effortlessly draws us in. Lewis Gibson’s sound scape takes us right into the sights, sounds and the pulsing heart of each location, perfectly pitched to evoke mystery, fear, intrigue, even mysticism.

The story is at times confusing leaving us unsure of why we’ve landed somewhere or what our heroine is there to achieve. The language although wonderfully poetic is sometimes distracting from the fast paced action being played out before us. A brief case and a song seem to be an integral part in her mission although they are not mentioned enough and this doesn’t seem fully realised. I was left slightly perplexed about the world that Lucy inhabits and exactly how she was going to save it.

Despite a few confusing elements in the story it’s a unique theatrical experience that is worthy of a night out to the theatre

Photo: Chris Keenan

Runs until 23rd April

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