Love at first sight is phrase too often used lightly in a world obsessed with visuals. Blind Man’s Song is a wordless snapshot into love in a sightless world, a production where visceral physicality is superior to the clarity of the story.
A sort of melancholia hangs over the entire show, a tone that’s not always pleasant. It feels somehow as though the couple’s turmoil comes before the passion of their love. When we see this passion, it’s beautiful and fragile, but these moments of tenderness are sparse.
The best example of the latter comes near the beginning, where the blind protagonist (Alex Judd) remembers first meeting his lover. This moment is truly relatable: that feeling of replaying a memory over and over. Guillaume Pigé and Selma Roth move in slow motion, then they speed up, then repeat particular details. This sequence goes on for a good 5 minutes and is performed flawlessly. More harrowingly recognisable moments such as this in Blind Man’s Song definitely wouldn’t have gone amiss.
It’s impossible to technically fault this production. The music, composed by the leading actor Judd, fits faultlessly to Pigé and Roth’s captivating physicality. It’s impossible to tell which came first, the music or the movement. Judd’s music is what tells us how we should feel: staccato devil’s interval chords indicate turmoil, and simplistically beautiful piano melodies signify romance. We are truly experiencing the memories of the blind protagonist, where sounds are largely more illustrative than visuals, and this works well.
This production doesn’t reach much of a climax, but instead fluctuates between states of calming fluidity and jarring physicality, perhaps illustrating the turmoil of the man and his love’s relationship. The problem is that the true nature of their relationship is never quite communicated clearly enough. His feelings for her are obvious; hers are not so obvious.
Blind Man’s Song appears to be fundamentally about love, but I’d hesitate in calling this a love story. If it is, it’s hard to tell. Its merits definitely lie in its physical strengths.
Blind Man’s Song is playing at the Pleasance Dome (Venue 23) until August 30. For more information, visit the Edinburgh Fringe website.