Edinburgh Festivals Magazine

The City and Iris

On a small, hot underground stage, Glass-Eye Theatre uses only one prop – a length of red rope – to tell the story of Iris and how she came to appreciate the world around her. The play is very physical and all people and objects in the city are represented by half a dozen members of the cast, who strike appropriate poses to become trees, clothes on hangars, bookshelves and even ducks. The result is a funny and touching story that captures the monotony of a daily routine, but reminds you to appreciate all the little things you ignore every day.

Iris is a reclusive librarian who has sheltered herself and lived a monotonous life since a traumatic visit to the optician as a child (seen in a terrifying flashback) when she was told that she suffers from myopia. She is imprisoned behind her prescription lenses and loses all interest in inspecting her surroundings. Eventually, the objects that are so consistently ignored in Iris’s life decide to teach her to look around and appreciate everything, and incredible things start to happen.

The rope is used in a nostalgia-inducing scene of Iris’s childhood, representing her line of vision as she inspects little bugs. Cast members unite to create the shape of a giant beetle, as Iris would see it up close. They are so good at forming her surroundings, while making all the sound effects verbally, that you are quickly absorbed into the city and never need real props to understand what is going on.

The City and Iris is an uplifting tale told in an unusual way and, like the red rope, is bound to tug at your heartstrings.

Zoo Roxy, 6-30 Aug (not 23), 8.25pm