In his first return to the Fringe in eight years, Paul Matwychuk presents an autobiographical monologue filled with absurd content that contrast with his average-everyday-guy persona in a riotous, but pensive way. Mexican Blindness is a great trip.
Matwychuk is another one of those actors who has his script learned cold; I couldn’t detect a single syllable or breath out of place in his performance. However, what Matwychuk does better than any other performer I saw at the Fringe this year, is play the “understated-role.”
He talks to his audience in the same way you’d imagine the quiet IT guy from down the hall where you work approaching an attractive coworker: he’s quiet and not overly boisterous, but whenever he utters a word, you know that he knows what he’s talking about.
It’s odd that this is the way I interpret Matwychuk’s acting in Mexican Blindness, because the the resort-vacation that he narrates about a trip with his fiancé and her family, is really quite an eventful one.
Mexican Blindness isn’t a very happy play
Sure, he let’s some of his shortcomings as a person shine through, like losing his glasses on the beach for instance, and that fits his delivery in an accurate and comedic way – but there are other times in the play when he uses the same tone of voice to talk us through near-death situations and hallucinogenic-drug trips.
I think it may be the contrast in those moments that made Mexican Blindness so great. The gnawing consideration during the show that everything Matwychuk said carries a hefty lick of truth, combined with the incredulous situations he described as if talking about how he takes his coffee kept me engaged and curious.
Mexican Blindness isn’t a happy play, despite what Matwychuk’s demeanour may try to betray, and it’s his professional dedication to purposefully narrating dark scenarios with a relaxed voice that really makes the play worth seeing.