My Eyes Went Dark

My Eyes Went Dark takes us down into the abyss of overwhelming grief and denies us any chink of light. There is a stifling sense of claustrophobia in the air from the outset of this powerful piece written and directed by Matthew Wilkinson with astonishing economy – two chairs form the entire set. The play, reportedly inspired by real events, tells the story of Ossetian architect Nikolai Koslov (Cal MacAninch), who loses his wife and two children in a plane crash caused by the simple human error of a lone air traffic controller. Flatly unable to accept the death as an accident, Koslov transforms his inconsolable grief into a murderous rage at the errant employee.

It feels more like a show for the head than the gut. Enthralling and provocative nevertheless.

On one hand, the play compels us to think critically about a series of nigh-on impossible ethical questions on the proper response to suffering, and the nature of justice. However, Wilkinson simultaneously asks us to encounter the sickening realities of bodies suffering from this kind of emotional trauma, as we discover the grotesque physical symptoms – migraines, cramps, etc – that ravage Koslov. The performances are stellar throughout: MacAninch’s stoicism is commendably eerie, and the attention to detail exhibited by Thusitha Jayasundera (portraying an impressive range of characters) threatened to steal the show. Her performance as a baffled schoolmate of Koslov’s son was especially stirring.

As much as anything, however, this is a play about memory – the way in which such events are commemorated, the manner by which trauma begets trauma and denies any forward motion. This is where Wilkinson’s structural ingenuity comes into play. A surprising temporal leap in the final act, followed by a teasing chronological shift in the last scene makes the sense of being borne back into the past forcefully felt.

The starkness, however, somewhat detracts from the piece’s power. There is an oddly sterile quality: crisp suits, the economy of the lighting, even MacAninch’s sharp profile on the poster, all obstruct our insight into the messier aspects of grief. It feels more like a show for the head than the gut. Enthralling and provocative nevertheless.

Reviews by Joe Spence

Pilgrim

The Harry and Chris Show

★★★★
Assembly George Square Gardens

Driftwood

★★★★
Underbelly, Cowgate

Lucy McCormick: Triple Threat

★★★★
Traverse Theatre

Daffodils (A Play With Songs)

★★★
Just the Tonic at The Mash House

Naz Osmanoglu: Exposure

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Written and directed by Matthew Wilkinson. A thrilling modern tragedy about a Russian architect driven to revenge after losing his family in a plane crash. Cal MacAninch and Thusitha Jayasundera give electrifying performances in this searing new play about the human impulse to strike back. Inspired by real events. Nominated for three Off West End Theatre Awards.

Most Popular See More

The Lion King

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mary Poppins

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Frozen the Musical

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets