Since opening its doors in 2016 the Cervantes Theatre has been dedicated to bringing Spanish and Latin American theatre to a London audience that are performed in both Spanish and English. Kicking off their second Spanish Contemporary season – which this year has a focus on female writers – is Catherine Boyle translation of Paloma Pedrero’s The Eyes of the Night, writes Rosie O’Connell.
Centred around an unusual and unexpected encounter between a successful businesswoman and a blind lottery ticket seller, The Eyes of the Night is an exploration of power, fear and the senses. Lucia (Lanna Joffrey) is at the top of her game, professionally speaking, and yet her life remains unfulfilled and lonely, shadowed by a failing, loveless marriage. How she ends up in a hotel room with Angel (Samuel Brewer) is not entirely clear and neither it seems are his expectations as to what his paid services might be.
Both characters are altogether unlikeable in their flaws and yet almost impossible to look away from. The visually impaired Angel, is unnecessarily aggressive and misogynistic while Lucia is disparagingly cruel and goading. The pair, in one room for the 90 minute runtime results in a volatile tension throughout that isn’t always pleasant to watch. The invasion of space, both mental and physical are uncomfortable and frustrating to sit back and witness and yet, each time, just about manages to teeter back before it is too late. Angel wants Lucia to experience his reality by removing her contact lenses, perhaps with the hope of making some discoveries about herself in the process or perhaps to show his dominance – The auditorium is plunged into darkness for almost a 10 minute period. The power struggle between the two goes on, each of them seeking triumph over the other while both bearing caution when they come too close to victory.
Overall it is an intriguing premise that is well paced and well presented. However, despite Joffrey and Brewer’s best efforts, Lucia and Angel’s recidivism makes it hard to care for them beyond the walls of the hotel room.
The Eyes of the Night is on at Cervantes Theatre, 229 Union St, London SE1 0LR until 28th September. Times: Wed-Thur Spanish; Fri-Sat English at 7.30pm. Admission: £15 – £25. Phone: 020 3633 4406
Photo: Elena Molina