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 Changes made to St Peter's LTN after Packington Estate used as rat run
- 2 Islington shooting victim named
- 3 Robert Rinder awarded MBE for his work on Holocaust education
- 4 Man in hospital with potentially 'life-changing' injuries following stabbing
- 5 Missing: Highgate woman known to frequent Camden and Islington areas
- 6 Phone snatcher admits guilt after robberies in Islington, Hackney and Tower Hamlets
- 7 Big name restaurant hints at Islington opening
- 8 Rise in London Covid rates, but people aged 25-30 can book vaccine
- 9 Murder investigation launched after teenager is shot in Islington
- 10 Woman, 48, arrested over fatal stabbing of Islington flower seller
That realisation was more affecting than any scripted narrative might have been.