Dangerous Lenses, Vault Festival – Review

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Grace Chiltern as Ann

Ann lives alone in high-rise flats. Experiencing very little human contact during the day, she spend much of her time at home watching… not her television as you’d might expect, but people in other apartments. Written by Brooke Robinson and directed by Melissa Dunne, Dangerous Lenses examines amongst other things loneliness in the 21st century and being ‘invisible’ in urban areas. Grace Chilton gives a understated, subtle perfomance as the reclusive Ann who after working her 9 to 5 job in a chocolate factory, spends much ofthe time as a ‘voyeur’ – fascinated by the lives of others near her.

In many respects, Ann’s situation is like Jimmy Stewart’s in Rear Window, as watching the hustle and bustle of life nearby grants a sense of belonging and attachment to the community at large. However, the arrival of a man and young girl in the middle of the night shifts Ann from her passive demeanour to being proactive and engaging. Of course, life has a way of throwing a curve when positive developments occur and in Ann’s case, it is the confirmation that her eyesight is deteriorating.

With this in mind, are we to believe everything that Ann has ‘seen’? How will this impact on her life from now on? As for the little girl who hasn’t been seen since that fateful night, who will look out for her?

To see and be seen – that is how we know we exist. But to take these fundamentals away from a person is to strip them of their identity, to cease to be…

© Michael Davis 2019

Threestars

Dangerous Lenses runs at the Vault Festival until 27th January (as well as a matinee performance at 4.30pm on Sunday).

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