Blind Man’s Song

Theatre Re presents: Blind Man’s Song
Pleasance London, Carpenters Mews, North Road, London N7 9EF
Wednesday 27th April – Sunday 15th May, 7.30pm

Review by Richard Lambert 28/4/16
4.5 Stars

Arriving at the building cluster that is the Pleasance, the evening’s experience starts. The foyer bar, staff and sofas are welcoming, sipping white wine to pass the time until the house is opened, along with a glance through the programme.

The programme is quite hard to read – surprising really when this performance is titled “Blind Man’s Song”. But, the Cast aren’t Blind, and “the Man” doesn’t Sing. In fact there’s no Song anywhere in the production. All very intriguing.

Blind Man's Song, Edinburgh Fringe 2015, courtesy Francois Verbeek 1

Entering the large black box converted loft barn theatre, there’s a Piano and a Bed on stage. Some gentle haze clouds floating mid-air. The lighting rig is quiet, it’s all tungsten, and the atmosphere feels right for the evening.

The show starts and it’s immediately apparent that this is an extremely well polished collaboration between all the artistes – both on-stage and back-stage. The all-important music, original compositions by Alex Judd, guide the style. He’s also performing: he plays a phrase, which then loops, plays another on top, which is added, build on build to create the score…..very mesmerising, a little reminiscent of Tubular Bells…..but here this is all done live. His costume includes sunglasses, very Pet Shop Boys!

The piano is in fact an electric piano built into a wooden frame upright piano. A violin is also used. The Piano podium is on castors so it can be moved around the stage.

The bed also has castors. They have got to be the quietest castors in existence! The bed glides around – sometimes obviously pushed and pulled and sometimes as if by magic with a concealed actor propelling it from underneath.

The Piano and Bed choreography is intriguing. It’s interesting. It matches all the musical nuances.

I did wonder why the cast wore head and face coverings. The programme talks of an increased sensory experience when you can’t see. The heightened sense of closing your eyes to listen to something or kiss someone. An interesting theme. But when the cast can clearly see through their masks, are so attractive, proclaiming heightened senses (presumably for the Cast rather than the audience since they’re the ones with the masks) and you can’t see their facial expressions, I wonder if this concept could have been limited to the first section of the evening rather than entire performance?

The lighting was magical. You know when there’s been total collaboration between the cast, Director and Lighting Designer. They hit their marks. Every lighting look was considered and created a landscape to draw you in.  Katherine Grahams lighting was humble, creative, beautiful and absolutely graceful!

Absolutely go see this show. It’s something different, it’s enthralling, it’s a wonderful experience.

Blind Man's Song, Edinburgh Fringe 2015, courtesy Francois Verbeek 8 Blind Man's Song, Edinburgh Fringe 2015, courtesy Francois Verbeek 3

Theatre re present Blind Mans Song as part of The Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015 Photo Credit: Richard Davenport. 07545642134

Photo Credit: Richard Davenport. 07545642134

Twitter   @TheatreRe, @ThePleasance, #Blindmanssong

Trailer   Click here

Tour Dates  Courtyard Theatre, Hereford – 18th May
North Wall Arts Centre, Oxford – 19th May
The Neeld Arts Centre, Chippenham – 20th May
Unity Theatre, Liverpool – 23rd May
Ruhrfestspiele, Recklinghausen (Germany) – 31st May – 5th June
L’Odyssée Scène Conventionée (France) – 27th – 28th July 28th

Notes   Ages 8+
Conceived and directed by Guillaume Pigé
Devised by the company
Original music   Alex Judd
Performers   Alex Judd, Guillaume Pigé, Selma Roth
Lighting design   Katherine Graham
Costume and Props design Malik Ibheis
Dramaturge   A.C. Smith