Edinburgh Fringe 2015

Blind Man’s Song

Theatre Re

Genre: Dance and Movement Theatre, Poetry-Based Theatre

Venue: Pleasance Dome

Festival:


Low Down

“Theatre Re presents a wordless tale about the power of imagination that blends together physical theatre, mime, sounds, illusions and a beautifully lyrical live musical score.”

Review

Blind Man’s Song sweeps you up and away into a world of memories.

Three performers in the Theatre Re company tell a story about a man who remembers certain events in his past. They do this brilliantly through physical storytelling and movement without speaking or uttering any words or sounds. Beautiful violin and piano music and a soundscape are played live and electronically by  Alex Judd,  who also plays the blind man wearing an overcoat and dark glasses.

The man’s bed becomes a sort of time machine taking us into a parallel universe where dreams appear as it is moved around the stage becoming a train and other places.

A man and a woman appear from the shadows, Guillaume Pigé and Selma Roth, wearing masks made of plain fabric across their faces appear and join the blind man for short scenes, many of which happen on the metal bed frame.  As the blind man plays the piano his face is still as he fixates on a relationship which the couple acts out, repeating and changing the outcome several times as the man replays the same tune trying to find the ending he wants.

The couple act the memories in the man’s mind with movement, it’s very poetic, theatrical and emotive. Simplicity is key here because each moment is fleshed out fully by choreography and accompanied by Judd’s music. The performers of Theatre Re base their movement work on Etienne Decroux mime technique – he is known as the father of modern mime. Often this technique is applied in a very abstract or sterile way to theatre, however, Blind Man’s Song integrates this technique in the most effective way I have ever seen, producing a creative and touching piece of movement theatre that I would like to see several times to relive it over again.

The couple really breathe into their movement and it’s a quality missing in a lot of physical or movement theatre. These two breathe in for inspiration before moving and breathe out as the movement progresses giving an ‘aliveness’ and sensuality to the performance.

The masks worn by the couple have no features on them – they are pieces of white fabric covering their face and head, tautly tied under at the back. The eyes are very expressive features and if we cannot see them it invokes our curiosity and imagination. This makes for an Everyman quality to the story, and it gives an eerie quality to the piece which is lit beautifully. The lighting pinpoints the important areas of the stage while the rest is fairly dark – it all adds to the mystery and sense that we are in another world.

However, it’s not all poetry and roses – there is conflict in this story as it becomes more complex and less predictable, pushing and pulling the limits of the story, characters and set.

Blind Man’s Song transcends storytelling as it transports you away on their time machine so you are within the story.

Published