Review: Imaginary Glass at Forest Theatre Greenside at Infirmary Street - Ed Fringe

Review by Charlotte Leamon


Four actors come together to improvise a play inspired by the writing of Tennessee Williams. Before beginning the show they ask the audience for an object in which one would find in their grandparents house. One member mentioned a clock that his grandmother owned, that was ornamented with gold.

The blocking of the beginning of the show was neat and organised, where one member began a monologue setting the scene in Southern Texas of a house where sisters Mary-Anne and Maggie lived. Mary-Anne was a painter, and Maggie the little sister.

From here, there was little development in the plot as we simply watched Mary-Anne paint. Scenes were split between spotlighted monologues, which were filled with analogies and detailed descriptions. However, words were used to fill time and often made for unnecessarily long speeches which most of the time did not make sense as metaphors were thrown around without intention.

Characters Mr. Edward Carlisle and Clementine were introduced. Mr. Carlisle was a bookshop owner who recently moved into town, and Clementine was looking for work. Mr. Carlisle was playing with a watch in his petticoat which was given to Clementine. Here, there was much confusion in forwarding the plot. Mary-Anne, who soon forgot her name and renamed herself as Emma, informed Clementine she must bake a cake for church. This offer was made in a threatening manner, for what reason the audience was not sure of.

The rules of improvisation which are to accept the offer and forward the plot were ignored by the cast. By speaking over one another, they missed important offers which could have developed the plot. However, they unfortunately denied all offers and the plot never progressed. Clementine offered her sponge cake at church where she met Maggie who admired and looked up to her. Mr. Carlisle and Clementine were then offered to come to Mary-Anne’s and Maggie’s house to play cards. After much deliberation of Mr. Carlisle denying the offer and then accepting the offer, they finally made it to the house and played cards where as stated, “Music would be played but no words spoken”. Despite this, they spoke over the music.

It is here where Mr. Carlisle discovers that Clementine keeps stealing his things. There is some mention of the clock being stolen in a confusing order of events, however it is never mentioned again. Mr. Carlisle and Clementine enter another room where they speak very little and make useless threats at one another. Here, Mary-Anne enters and murders Clementine and indicates that Mr. Carlisle is her partner.

It is clear that the cast had a structured order of events that were pre-set. However, the cause for not listening to one another and denying all offers is inexcusable, as it is one of the simple rules for performing improvised works. The southern accents were far from ‘lush’ as they word it, the plot illogical and confusing and the one object that was meant to elaborate the plot was ignored.


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