Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, Rosemary Branch: Messy and bewildering but very effective
- Credit: Archant
There can’t be too many plays where a man emptying a bag of Wotsits over his face has strong competition for “messiest moment”.
But Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, in which five players perform up to 30 sequences in the space of an hour, also saw those people dunk their faces in poster paint, pour instant coffee onto a man’s penis and eat raw margarine.
That the cast were forced to spend the entire evening with paint and baking ingredients caked around their mouths and eyes was not (just) masochistic writing, but the result of an aleatoric twist: the audience was asked to choose, by shouting numbers, the order in which we wanted to see the sketches.
The menu, it turned out, included a brutal monologue about life as a refugee and a particularly devastating sequence about finding and losing love while living with HIV, delivered by the usually effervescent Cecil Baldwin as he washed his face with a car sponge.
After two dozen sketches, the bellows of “twenty five!” and “thirteen!” had become decidedly more ragged: like speaking out loud during a dream, these nonsensical outbursts punctuated abstract depictions of loneliness, sex, racism, homophobia and memory that were moving and hilarious, sometimes but not always at the same time.
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And the randomised structure was anything but a gimmick.
Just like our own actual lives, these sketches – whose resourceful use of space, light and sound made a small stage feel unfathomably, even uncomfortably large – were delivered without respite or warning in a meaningless vacuum of order.
- 1 Islington Council to press ahead with people friendly streets - despite disabled pleas
- 2 Call for action after scooter filmed riding on Islington pavement
- 3 Islington Council caretaker charged with rape and aggravated burglary
- 4 Clerkenwell fire: Margery Street office block blaze under investigation
- 5 Finsbury Park house to be transformed for ‘Halloween experience’
- 6 Tony Blair joins celebration to mark 101 years of Highbury Catholic church
- 7 Tree wardens to be recruited on every Islington estate 'to advocate for trees'
- 8 'Help! I found a lizard in my luggage after my holiday'
- 9 Stunning photos show how King's Cross has changed in 20 years
- 10 Helen Anderson: CCTV appeal to trace witnesses to Finsbury Park mum's murder
That realisation was more affecting than any scripted narrative might have been.