The Very Grey Matter of Edward Blank places us inside Edward’s apartment, and inside his mind. The door is locked and bolted. His work arrives through the slot in the door. He spends his days with his typewriter, and with the figments of his imagination. There is an interesting tale here that unfortunately becomes lost.
The show has moments that are alternatively beautiful and filled with humour. A stethoscope is held against the hair of a young Edward, and through it is amplified the cacophony of voices in his head. Edward descends into his own world by climbing down into his desk, just a hole and a bright white light. A bookshelf turns into a shadow puppet box, where we see the story of Edward and his love.
But surrounding these moments is too little intellectual depth or narrative nuance. A dark comedy clowning puppetry theatre piece, this work wants to be too many things and in the process gets muddled.
At its core, The Very Grey Matter of Edward Blank seems to be reaching for an emotionally devastating story of a man trapped by his mental illness. But this is undercut by how likeable the figures of his mind are, and the way the show suggests that Edward’s creativity can exist only when he rejects medication.
In the end, we are left with a sad Edward and his four smiling compatriots, and it’s not at all clear whose side Familia de la Noche Theatre would like us to be on.