The Very Grey Matter of Edward Blank
Familia de la Noche's play about an unravelling mind
This article is from 2015.
To say that literary writer Edward Blank (Sam Redway) is troubled by the creative process is an understatement: a whirling Hieronymus Bosch-like maelstrom of voices and faces plague his brain at 3am, and surround him, uninvited, at his lunchtime break. Who is the demonic idiot-boy Mr Buback, and why is an errant loved one's voice reading poetry on a tape? If only his fizzing mind would lock them out permanently. His pills level things, except … he isn't sure that he took them.
Fusing kinetic choreography with shadow puppetry, live music and clowning, the company create unexpected visual metaphors with the knockabout verve of a Seventies sitcom. Here, archetypes that he has created (lush housewife, kooky girl, lecher) won't settle into safe compartments or play nice.
When the piece settles and the hilarity dies down, a more moving, melancholic pace moves in. Redway and his four co-stars are fantastic, especially when working as an ensemble, pulling out the issues of mental health from a seemingly perverse carnival.
It may not all hang together, with an incoherence towards the middle, but the richly inventive, layered mosaic of ideas is a pleasure to watch from eye-popping intro, to sweetly-resigned finish-line.
Assembly Roxy, 623 3030, 5.35pm, until 31 Aug (not 18), £10-£12