FRINGE REVIEW – The Blind, Old College Quad


By Danielle Farrow

Out of a colourful beginning where a crowd slowly develops to meet and dance and fight, a shriek rends the company and disaster strikes. Thrust into darkness and a containing facility, one seeing helper and The Blind search and stumble, leap and tumble through various states of social interaction, from fear and isolation, through gathering against a common foe, division among the ranks and on to male dominance and abuse followed by female harshness and retaliation. A few shifts more and society should be back to normal, but the beginning is not the end.
There are brilliant images within KTO’s The Blind: a piece of paper held aloft in the midst of blindness, a figure dragging sticks, tango couples in a stream of blowing colour, a fort of beds where defenders stave off rebel attackers, a tower of abuse where hands torment through canvas. These and more are striking in clever simplicity, and transitions created in the company’s use of rolling metal beds and similar frame constructions invite admiration.
With powerful music, effective lighting and those memorable visuals, KTO presents highly physical performers who initially create beautifully detailed characters and intriguing relationships, all without words. Those early individual details fade, though, possibly an indication of loss of the individual within this new society, but some of the richness of previous scenes and relationships also disappears. The changes of the group dynamics, despite their philosophical and political interest, become somewhat expected, with a touch of cliché here and there.
To those for whom the early impressive emotional resonance and impact of the initial blindness epidemic was never reached again, this show is a very strong 3 star production, which stimulates the mind and always provides something interesting to watch. Others, however, may agree with those audience members who – amongst red and silver flashes of paper blown across the Old College Quad, walking away from an abandoned bed, strewn poles and once flame-lit buckets – were overheard saying that The Blind they had just witnessed was, in fact, “fantastic” and “mesmerising“.

3-15 August, 21:00 (22:00) + 16 – 27 August, 22:30 (23:30) @ Old College Quad

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