The Very Grey Matter of Edward Blank (3 stars)

This article is from 2015

The Very Grey Matter of Edward Blank

Credit: Rah Petherbridge

Familia de la Noche's play about an unravelling mind

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

The Very Grey Matter of Edward Blank

  • 3 stars

Familia De La Noche presents a production that features their darkly comic, signature style of clowning, live music and storytelling.