Over the last few years there has been a trend of presenting relationships that in real life would seem harmful as the ultimate form of romance (see Twilight), with predatory and problematic actions to say the least conveyed as signs of devotion. Yet Phil Porter’s Blink, a Soho Theatre and Nabokov co-production, is a beautiful, twisted love story. It manages to strike a balance between severe creepiness and sweetness, despite focusing on a voyeuristic relationship.
We get a glimpse into the romance of Jonah and Sophie, skilfully played by Harry McEntire and Rosie Wyatt. Porter could easily have set up a conventional story of boy-meets-girl, but when Sophie sets up a camera in her flat and secretly delivers the screen for it to Jonah downstairs it is the beginning of a bizarre relationship that is compelling to watch. This new connection comes at a time when both of them are struggling to transition into new solitary lives, having been separated in some way from the comforts and safety of family. These are dysfunctional people trying to cope with a sense of unfamiliarity and isolation, and for Sophie it the profound feeling of constant invisibility the spurs her to take action. It’s an odd tale but it works and is strangely endearing.
After a stilted start the narration takes off and we get to follow the progress of their unusual courtship. It does seem at times that the story is a bit too sweet – we don’t delve that far into the inherent unease that this situation brings up, often abandoning darker questions that are raised in favour of a more whimsical tone. Occasionally the script falters but overall, despite small moments
being lost, the story remains engaging and the actors sell their characters well, creating a show that’s a delight to watch.
*** (3 STARS)
PHOTO/ Soho Theatre