Mime, physical theatre and live music was our theatre experience on Sunday afternoon as we plodded down to the Pleasance in Islington to see Theatre Re’s ‘Blind Man’s Song’.
A blind man tries to remember a past love, as two masked characters representing memories move beautifully around the stage revealing the various stages of their relationship. Due to the colour of their costumes, we will refer to these two as Mr Burgundy and Lady Evergreen. We worked out that the blind man was possibly a composer suffering from tinnitus, who, in trying to recall this relationship, was composing songs to bring back the memories.
There were lovely moments of movement and mime in this piece, gracefully tracing the arc of the romance from the first meeting, through first night and beyond. The mime of Guillaume Pigé and Selma Roth was captivating. The simple set of a single moveable bed and piano was perfect in the large space of the Pleasance’s main stage. The atmosphere created by the lighting, smoke effects and costumes was very arresting and we certainly couldn’t take our eyes off it.
At times, however, this piece was let down by the music. Written and performed by Alex Shaw, playing both the violin and the piano whilst using a loop peddle, he did at times create some lovely sounds, but too often, as can be the case when using a loop peddle, the music became repetitive, with only some basic arpeggiations. There were also two sounds used to represent the blind man’s tinnitus. Firstly the repeated sound of him banging his cane around the bed and secondly a loud ringing. We understood their use, however, the volume and duration of these moments was actually quite unpleasant.
The piece did have a very beautiful ending with the blind man finally remembering the face of Lady Evergreen. At this moment the music definitely matched the quality of the other elements creating a fitting finish for this forgotten love. The blind man finally found peace.
Highlight of the piece: Mr Burgundy’s expertly mimed attempts at opening a door.