My Dad’s Blind – Peacock Theatre – Review
Run now finished – 30 – 31 July 2019
Part of the Young Curators Festival at the Abbey Theatre
The play starts with an interview between the daughter and the father. She asks him questions into a microphone, trying to get him to share his emotions about going blind! She wants to create a cathartic moment for the camera and when he doesn’t deliver, she storms off angry with his lack of compassion!
Steve Blount play the eponymous Dad. He wears a blindfold throughout the performance, just to make things more interesting. Anna Sheils-McNamee plays his sighted daughter, who shows little compassion for her Dad’s disability! This is a comedy that deals with their relationship in all its complexities.
The stage is quite simple with the floor and walls in black. There is a strong contrast with the white chairs and stools that litter the stage, placed almost randomly, like some sort of assault course for the Dad.
The play takes a whistle stop tour through the young woman’s childhood. Her mother is no longer part of the equation, she left not long after her husband went blind. We get to see a number of short scenes that show their everyday life. That’s not to say this is a true to life drama, as Sheils-McNamee plays an utterly spoiled teen, totally self-absorbed and unable to see the world from someone else’s perspective!
This production was part of Dublin Fringe Festival last year, where it won Best Production. The only change since that production is that the original Dad, David O’Meara, has been replaced with Steve Blount, due to scheduling conflicts. Blount does well with the piece, but really he plays the straight man for Sheils-McNamee’s colourful explosions! She plays a teenager on the verge of a nervous breakdown with style.
While the text is loosely based on Sheils-McNamee’s own life experiences, there are moments that are quite far-fetched! The scenes with the blow up doll felt a little contrived, but those aside, it offers a sharp tongue and a good insight into life with a disability. It shows the human ability to adapt and more importantly, to laugh at ourselves! It tours the country in early September and is worth checking out.
NATIONAL TOUR DATES –
30th and 31st July – Abbey Theatre on the Peacock Stage as part of the Young Curators Festival
3rd – 7th September – Civic Theatre, Tallaght, Dublin 24*
11th September – Town Hall Theatre, Galway *
12th September – VISUAL, Carlow
18th September – Ballina Arts Centre, Co Mayo*
19th September – Wexford Arts Centre*
20th September – Ramor, Virginia, Co Cavan*
24th September – glór, Ennis, Co Clare*
26th September – Watergate, Kilkenny*
28th September – An Grainan, Letterkenny, Co Donegal*
My Dad’s Blind By Anna Sheils-McNamee
Man: Steve Blount
Girl: Anna Sheils-McNamee
Writer: Anna Sheils-McNamee
Director: Gemma Aked-Priestley
Lighting Designer: Sarah Jane Shiels
Sound Designer: Peter Power
Production Manager: Éanna Whelan
Stage Manager: Tracy Martin
Producer: Donncha O’Dea