How do you review a show that refuses to be a show? That is the question. Blind Hamlet is a staging involving a recording of a playwright going blind, using the last of his eyesight to read Hamlet. He has a dream to connect with the audience and so he has us play a few games with him. A stage manager oversees proceedings. This is a sort of radio play with a live audience helping the mind creating the imagery suggested and as such it works. If only they had gone with it all the way.
The concept is fresh and bold, asking questions of the theatre form, of what we see as playwriting, what as performance and what the role of the audience is. However it is not a fully thought through production. The audience participation is well managed, but somewhat forced, leaving many visibly uncomfortable taking part. The link to Hamlet is fuzzy and could be explored further and as for the fragmented storyline, though very interesting, it leaves a lot to be desired and fizzles out leaving a gaping hole in the middle of the show. This is done on purpose, the show is deliberately split into two halves, but one cannot help but think the concept presented in the first half could have been explored further and that the second half felt disjointed from the questions the first half presented. Though creating a feeling of liveness and community within the auditorium, it takes the edge out of the show, making it nothing but an interesting experiment.
Blind Hamlet runs at Assembly Roxy until the 25th of August at 14.50.