Blind Man’s Song, currently playing at the Pleasance Theatre, uses music and movement to explore the themes of love, memory and connection. While certainly these are fertile grounds for exploration, they’re nonetheless well-trodden ones, and Blind Man’s Song, while sweet, sadly fails to shed much new light on these topics. This makes for a somewhat twee and, in the end, unsatisfying experience from the ensemble, Theatre Re.
Blind Man’s Song features three performers: Alex Judd, Guillaume Pigé and Selma Roth and we are invited to “follow the [Blind Man’s] dreamlike journey travelling at the speed of memory to a place where some things become more visible in the dark”. The three, using the sparse set pieces of a bed and piano, recount the blind man’s meeting and love affair with a young woman. There’s some beautiful music in the show, thanks to the use of a loop pedal, piano, pre-recorded sound and violins. This creates a distinct tone and atmosphere whereupon our performers paint the story.
There are moments in the piece which are lovely, for example the masked performers communicating through their bodies the growth of their affection for each other. Sadly, however, the storytelling is incredibly slow, particularly at the start, and ultimately quite unsatisfying for being spread thin over the hour. Moreover, the slack structure is not well compensated for by the show’s content: while the performers move gracefully, there’s little in the choreography which feels striking, new, innovative, emotive, or particularly impressive.
Ultimately it feels as though the primary function of the show is to elicit an emotional response. However, in its determination to do so, Blind Man’s Song sacrifices colour, nuance, journey and depth: and as a result renders its very aim into an impossible task. This leaves us with a piece which attempts sentimentality, but which instead leaves its audience cold, thanks to there being little to truly connect with or care for, nor anything to really learn or discover.
Blind Man’s Song is playing at the Pleasance Theatre until May 15. For more information and tickets, see The Pleasance Theatre website.
Photo: Richard Davenport