Skip to main content

Blink

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
Four stars
Life and death are everything for Jonah and Sophie, the shyly dysfunctional couple at the heart of Blink, Phil Porter's self-consciously kooky but quietly profound play, which was originally seen at the Traverse during the theatre's 2012 Edinburgh Festival Fringe season. As the pair talk to the audience, their story unfolds via series of criss-crossing monologues that lay bare an awkward, barely there affair that's more about confirming each other's right to be apart than anything that happens when they're not quite together.

Sophie has been brought up in the Isle of Man, Jonah in a religious commune. Both come into money via their dead parents, and end up living on top of each other in a London suburb. He watches her as one might view a reality TV show, while she keeps her distance, and they only meet for the first time after a near fatal accident brings them briefly into the same sphere until they go their separate ways once more.

Joe Murphy's co-production between Soho Theatre and the nabokov company is a charmingly quirky concoction that's as much emotional show-and-tell as drama. As Jonah and Sophie, Thomas Pickles and Lizzy Watts make a sweetly endearing pair, who punctuate the play's everyday oddness with an understated and deadpan humour that underpins the story's tenderness without any need for schmaltz. Such stylisation captures a low-key absurdity as well as a warmth that's engagingly infectious throughout. The result of all this is a moving and funny snapshot of two people who learn to live beyond their losses, even as the fleeting moment of something that might resemble happiness passes them by in an instant.

The Herald, February 24th 2014


ends  

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Honourable K.W. Harman: Ltd Ink Corporation

31 Bath Road, Leith Docks, March 17th-20th

In a monumental shipping container down by Leith Docks, a Sex Pistols tribute band is playing Anarchy in the U.K.. on a stage set up in the middle of the room. Either side, various constructions have been built in such a way so viewers can window shop as they promenade from one end of the room to the next, with the holy grail of a bar at either end.

Inbetween, there’s a confession booth and a mock-up of a private detective’s office with assorted documentation of real-life surveillance pinned to the walls. Two people seem to be having a conversation in public as if they're on a chat show. An assault course of smashed windows are perched on the floor like collateral damage of post-chucking out time target practice. A display of distinctively lettered signs originally created by a homeless man in search of a bed for the night are clumped together on placards that seem to be marking out territory or else finding comfort in being together. Opp…

The Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…

Nomanslanding

Tramway, Glasgow until July 2nd
Four stars

In the dead of night, the audience are split in two and led under-cover into lamp-lit tented structures. Inside, what look like peasant women on the run lead us down a ramp and into a large circular pod. It feels part cathedral, part space-ship, and to come blinking into the light of such a fantastical structure after stumbling in the dark disorientates and overwhelms. Sat around the pod as if awaiting prayers to begin, we watch as performers Nerea Bello and Judith Williams incant mournfully on either side of the room. Their keening chorales embark on a voyage of their own, twisting around each other by way of the international language of singing. As if in sympathy, the walls wail and whisper, before starting to move as those on either side of the pod are left stranded, a gulf between them.

This international co-commission between Glasgow Life and the Merchant City Festival, Sydney Harbour Foreshaw Authority in Australia and Urbane Kienste …