That’s an awfully good-looking prop, I think to myself as a character takes a knife to an apparent rabbit carcass. Then, as he hacks away at the meat and places it in the pot, I look closer and realise how very real it actually is. This sums up most of In the Kingdom of the Blind. Cutting beneath the surface of the play structure reveals an uncomfortably real and believable experience. Ultimately, this is a delight to watch.
The story focuses on three characters who, after meeting over the internet, decide to forego modern life with its comfort and live ‘naturally’ in the wilderness. Naturally, this goes about as well as you would expect. Yet the focus of the play is really on the human interaction between three very different characters. Portrayed in an ultra-naturalistic manner, these characters are utterly believable. Helped by dialogue and the surprisingly convincing set, the play is almost fully immersive.
A few frailties in the script prevent the show from completing this. Occasionally topics of conversation are brought up somewhat randomly and then fizzle out to be replaced in a similar manner. When the conversations happen, they are quite engaging but it feels like the linking between scenes and conversation threads could be clearer. Deep secrets from the pasts of the characters are brought up without much provocation and occasionally left quite vague and unresolved. The present is much more interesting than the past for the characters. A single cough speaks many more words for the play than a revelation about one of the character’s shady past. The end also took me somewhat by surprise.
These quibbles aside however, the performance was exemplary. Brutally real and viscerally engaging, the play exposes you to the harsh realities of nature, both human and otherwise.