Venue: Erskineville Town Hall(Erskineville NSW), Sep 24 – 28, 2019
Playwright: Garreth Cruickshank
Director: Susan Jordan
Cast: Thomas Burt, Russel Cronin, Dale Weseley Johnson-Green, Martin Portus
Shepherd is outside his house seeking help. He is blind and has lost his can opener, unable to prepare soup for dinner. Kind passerby Jude is lured in, but their newfound friendship turns sour in an instant, when it is revealed that Shepherd is a paedophile. Garreth Cruickshank’s None So Blind examines the evil lurking in our communities, placing a well-known archetype at the centre of its narrative to help us make sense of bad neighbours, who must somehow co-exist with the general population.
Cruickshank’s work contains strong ideas that will instigate valuable discussions. The Shepherd character is sufficiently complex to prevent us from dismissing him too easily, although audiences can rest assured that there is no sympathy for the devil here. Directed by Susan Jordan, the hour long play begins with an engaging nuance, but becomes too obvious as we approach its conclusion, with dialogue turning overly expository as tensions escalate. Actor Martin Portus depicts the monster as both grotesque and delicate, able to convey human qualities that are as awful as they are real. Jude is played by Russel Cronin, whose performance of compassion does not quite match the effectiveness with which he is able to articulate scornful disdain for the despicable villain of the piece.
We know so little of the subject, because the mere thought of it is so repulsive, we can hardly spare more than a moment’s deliberation. None So Blind challenges us to consider deeper, a truth that we have to live with, about people who will cause harm, whether we are vigilant or complacent. We often deal with dangers, by pretending that they do not exist. It is true that being paralysed with fear is no way to have a good life, but reminders are necessary, especially when we let our guard down too much.