The Blind Giant Is Dancing

Rachel King
20th Feb 2016

Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Whether it’s business, politics or family relationships it is this concept which drives the story of Stephen Sewell’s The Blind Giant Is Dancing. Dan Spielman stars as idealist Allen Fitzgerald who is trying to navigate the murky waters of party politics while balancing the expectations of his working class family and his feminist wife. Set in the changing economic and social times of the 1980s, Allen wants to make the world a better place but doesn’t realise the compromises he’ll make to get where he wants.

Playing opposite Spielman is his wife Yael Stone, who is best known for the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black. While I hope their marriage is stronger than Allen’s and Louise’s fragile relationship, it is easy to believe their arguments as they exchange fiery barbs. Supported by a number of familiar faces from television and commercials (Geoff Morrell, Ben Wood), performance-wise all the cast are good yet no character is really likeable. It is hard to feel for anyone as they dig deeper holes for themselves, compromise principles and ultimately become what they despise.

Sewell has tried to insert too much conflict into the story and the cast (and audience) struggle to keep up. The pace was frenetic with a constant barrage of dialogue, but added it to it was the persistent movement of the actors as they paced across the stage, which just added to the chaos. Even moments of intimacy and poignancy were over too briefly as if the machinations of industry and politics had to keep moving.

Adding to the overall confusion is the staging and set. The stage was bare except for a metal screen that lit up at intervals and was used to differentiate rooms and locations, along with a number of chairs, tables and props that the actors moved in between scenes. I’d hoped minimalist vinyl office seating of the period had disappeared from interior design, but it seems the Belvoir managed to find some to use for this production.

It could be argued that revisiting this play is appropriate due to the ever-changing faces of state and national politics, plus the ongoing corruption enquiries and scandals. But by delving into the past all it goes to show is that not a lot has changed in 30 years. Director Eamon Flack’s intentions may have been good but unfortunately the production doesn’t equate to a good time. If you’re into politics then this will be right up your alley but for everyone else the nearly 3 hours including two intervals is about as entertaining as Question Time.

The Blind Giant Is Dancing is on at Belvoir St. Theatre until March 20. Production photos by Brett Boardman.

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25 Belvoir Street
Surry Hills
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