The Eyes of the Night – Cervantes Theatre, London

Writer: Paloma Pedrero

Translator: Catherine Boyle

Director: Simone Coxall

Reviewer: Margarita Shivarova

Performed in a studio theatre stage, the English translation of this play offers a memorable experience through both its story and the choices made by the production team. Soon after the audience meets Lucia(Lanna Joffrey) and Angel(Samuel Brewer), two strangers, inwardly alike in their frustration with life, norms and personal burdens, one cannot help to expect deep content. And so does the play deliver.

Bringing a blind guy who sells lottery tickets to a hotel room is not something Lucia does, but it is what strong, independent, business women can afford to do. Buying silence and no source of judgement for her looks is her initial strategy to escape an already destroyed marriage, superficial friendships and the ingrained routine of the woman she no more wants to be. What she finds, instead, is a direct, confident, aggressive man often standing in a Quasimodo-looking posture who can scare the living out of her and simultaneously switch the light on her vulnerable, affectionate side.

Although the value exchange appears mostly one way, both characters equally struggle with the narrative around perspectives shaped by one’s physical ability to see. The brain games that they play in attacking each other with sharpness and defensive honesty, madness and hidden tenderness, keep a diverse pace throughout the play, thus keeping the audience on the edge. Until the necessary tension builds the audience may start to wonder where they will be taken to in the confined space of a hotel room. The smart use of the set and lighting, however, quickly make up for the rather stagnant start. In fact, precisely the lengthy blackout aimed at challenging the level of comfort in the audience, contributes to the extraordinary experience as they are taken on the journey of Lucia’swayfinding and re-evaluation of the other human senses while in total darkness.

The state of delusion Lucia falls in having gone through such an experience ties in incredibly well with her sarcastic references to Romeo and Juliet. In comparison, Angel’s confidence in acceptance of his blindness, almost as a virtue, always stirs the conversation as the least one wants in such circumstances is pity. And yet even the misconception that instinctive desire is purely based on appearance Angel sits strongly against, cannot be seen by Lucia until she is in charge once more before his sleeping body on the bed.

A wonderful collision between two complex characters that reveals the multitude of layers a soul can bear, but human physicality can rarely communicate.

Runs until: 28 September 2019 | Image: Elena Molina

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The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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