Saturday 20 May 2017

Braille Legacy ****

BRAILLE LEGACY - Charing Cross Theatre - don't believe the reviews - very very well worth seeing. 
I was offered a reduced price ticket for this new musical, which is playing to small houses because of terrible reviews in the Guardian and other places. 
Fortunately I'd heard enough about it in a BBC Radio 4 programme, to decide to ignore the reviews and go. 
Set in Paris in the early 1800s, it's obviously about the invention of the Braille alphabet and numbers, but it's about much more than that - it's about society and political attitudes to poverty and disability- it's about the argument concerning sign language for the deaf - it's about the extent to which people with disability should be given chance to develop their personalities, interests and talents, or wether they should be trained to become cogs who produce goods to finance their keep, in a world without vision (literal & metaphorical). There are many historical, philosophical and literary references including to Voltaire and the French Revolution (both of which were fairly recent) and to Shakespeare.  
My biggest criticism was with the translation which (as can happen) made it sometimes lack expansiveness - and (as with all the reviews I've read) I got a bit annoyed by the over cumbersome set, but if you can find a way to see it, it's very well worth the trip. 
I found the Guardian review 'posey' and vacuous, (Blairite / New Labour pseudo sophistication, not I Daniel Blake) this one here is somewhat better. 
Jan Loxley Blount 20/05/17