Fíbín Teo, all the way from the west coast of Ireland, have brought us the bilingual The Blind Seal / An Rón Dall: an exercise in storytelling; an opportunity to watch an artist at work; a little taste of Irish folklore and culture; and a unique offering from the Toronto Fringe Festival. All said, it’s a delightful way to spend an afternoon.
As the artist paints and musicians play, two readers (one working in English, the other in Gaeilge) retell the centuries-old legend of the blind seal. All three work in tandem to build the story. The words relate to the art, while the music adds emphasis to both.
And at the end, a remarkable trick is revealed–which cannot be described without spoiling it, but which is very much worth seeing.
The show is best described as a simple idea done well. The execution is essentially flawless, the material is entertaining, and while some may find it all a little slow-paced (you’re basically watching a guy paint), the music and language do a good deal to help liven up what might otherwise be a rather dull hour.
Those with short attention spans should stay away, but those who want a breather between the more frantic and challenging shows will enjoy this pleasant little hunk of folklore, and it is–of course–of special interest to anyone interested in Irish language, folklore, music or culture generally.
Most importantly of all, don’t rush out afterwards! Once the lights come up, the company have a good ten to fifteen minutes to answer questions about the show, the myth, the instruments, the art, and anything else under the sun. This is possibly the most entertaining and informative part of the performance: don’t miss it.
- The Blind Seal / An Rón Dall is playing at Venue 7, St. Vlad’s Theatre (620 Spadina Ave).
- Performances: July 06 05:15 PM; July 07 11:30 PM; July 08 05:45 PM; July 10 01:00 PM; July 11 06:00 PM; July 12 01:45 PM;July 14 08:45 PM.
- Individual Fringe tickets are available at the door for $10 ($5 for FringeKids), cash only. Latecomers will not be seated.
- Tickets are also available online at fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416 966 1062, or in person at The Randolph Centre for the Arts, 736 Bathurst Street (Advance tickets are $11 – $9+$2 service charge)
- Value packs are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows.