THEATRE REVIEW: Blindness ★★★★★


The Donmar Warehouse, London

Saturday 1st - Saturday 22nd August 2020

Returning to the theatre in any capacity was always going to be an unnerving, potentially a hrrowing time for many people, and even the thought of heading back into the buildings of worship in which the theatre industry cherishes so much may put a lot of people off, but The Donmar Warehouse have done something rather extraordinary and revolutionary; Blindness, the first major production to open within a theatre since March 17th 2020 in the UK, sees Juliet Stevenson (Hamlet, The Doctor, Mary Stewart) voice the character of The Doctor’s Wife, a woman who pretends to go blind when a huge pandemic hits the whole country, and steals her husband away to an undisclosed location.

Of course with Blindness, just as the title has many meanings within itself, Juliet Stevenson is not actually situated within the Donmar’s stalls auditorium, but instead in our head and ears, aswe listen through headphones the binaural experience that was rehearsed and recorded by Stevenson, with Walter Meierjonhann’s staggering direction that propels the protagonist’s emotions to breaking point as she fights against the hierarchy who feel like they can make the decisions with so little consideration, to which some moments mirror themselves in this aspect perfectly to our real life pandemic that we find ourselves in currently!

With so much emphasis on this production being a feat in recorded technology, the scrutiny in the technical elements arguably are at its heightened state, but rest assured that Jessica Hung Han Yun Lighting Design, comprised alongside Ben and Max Ringham’s sound design, is rather breathtaking and excels itself in transporting us to another world where mayhem slowly ensues. With extended periods of time also concealed in pitch darkness, your senses are intensified to the nth degree, and it certainly takes you along for the ride, with yourself and the 40 other controlled socially distanced participants going on a journey of hope, misery, and the unknown; the little you know about this production going forward, the more of an experience of life you will receive from Simon Stephen’s fast paced, eerily modern masterpiece.

It should also be noted that the whole staffing team at The Donmar did a remarkable job to make sure that every audience member were welcomed, felt reassured, and left safely without a hitch, where hand sanitizer stations were placed throughout, and signage was all around the building to make sure that we had a secured first visit back to the theatre since March this year, and hopefully this whole initiative will help further theatre and event venues in the future to take the leap in opening up their doors once again to the public.


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