Blindness is an incredibly gripping show with which to start off the 2022 Adelaide Festival season. I found it to be an incredibly effective and heart-wrenching story. The basic premise is that the occupants of an unnamed city are going blind with the exception of our narrator who hides the fact that she is the only one who can see.
It is based on the 1995 book by Noble prize-winning author José Saramago and originally premiered at the famous Donmar Warehouse in London 2 years ago. It is a timely production in that it echoes current world circumstances given that the story centres on an epidemic and the resulting after-effects.
Blindness is a socially distanced theatrical experience. The effective (minimal) set of crisscrossing glowing bars of colourful lights is conducive in telling the powerful story. Patrons sit apart from each other wearing headphones to listen to a narrative recording by the actor Juliet Stevenson.
Juliet Stevenson’s performance for the piece was absolutely phenomenal. The special binaural effects are so spectacular that it felt like Juliet was whispering in your ear and I thought that there were other performers actually in the room shuffling their feet and dropping things on the ground. I listen to audiobooks regularly and found this to be an experience like an audiobook on steroids. I have never heard anything as remarkable as what I heard as It really did feel as though you were in the room where the play was mostly set.
I cannot recommend this moving production enough. Luckily, there are many more performances available as the season is continuing until the 20th of March.
Adelaide Festival Review By Richard De Pizzol