My Dad’s Blind review: Singular vision of a life marred by blindness

Dublin Fringe Festival: Two-hander is marked by visual flair and dark comedy


Space Upstairs, Project Arts Centre
★ ★ ★ ★
If the aim of Anna Sheils-McNamee's two-hander is to evoke the disorientation and capriciousness of going blind, it succeeds in both substance and style. An unnamed girl (Sheils-McNamee) cares for, and fights with, her father (David O'Meara), who has lost his sight as an adult. As they untangle the past, the present unravels, in chaotic, unpredictable fashion. As if underlining the cruelty of blindness, Gemma Aked-Priestley's production for Pan Pan has a flair for the visual. The luminous set is dotted with props that facilitate physical action and dark slapstick, the minimalist look gradually disappearing under the detritus generated by the gleefully nonsequential narrative twists. There is an aural aspect, too, in the form of disconcertingly loud yet confessional recordings. But it is not a bleak piece, nor is it artificially uplifting. At its core lies an astringent comic sensibility and a lively theatrical imagination, brought to life by the energetic performers. All in all, a singular vision of a potentially difficult subject.

Runs until Saturday, September 22nd