Max (excellent John Mackay, alone on stage) is a single dad and astronomer whose lectures at the planetarium revel in the excitement of being able to see the stars light years away. But for him, this seemingly limitless vista is about to change drastically as the peripheral flashes of a routine eye test go unseen, the first indication of a degenerative condition which will turn the simplest of tasks into a challenge and deprive him of his vision.
In the intermittent pitch-black darkness, the confusing surround-sound cacophony of traffic bombards his (and our) our senses, whilst the patter of rain is gently evocative. The Milky Way, projected overhead, casts a gentle glow and shadowy photos develop and distort like magic, mirroring the hallucinations which Max begins to experience.
And as he attempts to explain to his precocious 6 year old son Leo (a disembodied voice we never see) why his daddy will no longer be able to see his face, an extra layer of poignancy is added to an already devastating prospect of diminishing horizons and a journey into a frightening unknown.
Young Vic, The Cut, SE1 8LZ
Tube: Southwark / Waterloo
Until 24th March
– Louise Kingsley