Monday, 24 February 2014

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


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