A Sudden Burst of Blinding Light
The transformative power of love is what Ben Maier’s smart, elusive new play is really getting at. Framed as a kind of bizarre game show with two grinning hosts, it tells the story of a girl named Jude, whose difficult life is upended by a chance meeting with pensive card magician Leon. Leon is magic – as in really magic – he can make people vanish and reappear, and bend the physical world to his will.
Leon’s powers are a surprisingly flexible and lucid metaphor for the ability of love to transform the world around you, or at least your view of it, as well as our urge to make ourselves disappear when its pressures become too much to bear.
There’s a hint of Little Bulb in Charlie Ely’s production, in its wilful theatricality and pop-culture penchant, and it all gets a bit Twin Peaks-y with the arrival of a pink-suited lounge singer, but there’s a distinctive voice here too. Things never quite build satisfactorily, with work to be done in the clarity of the plotting and interweaving of theatrical grammars, but gutsy visuals and strong performances from Loz Keystone and Rosemary Terry make A Sudden Burst of Blinding Light engaging enough to forgive its flaws.
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