11 January 2014

Blink at Soho Theatre

Blink was those one in twenty or so theatre performances that I see that was truly exceptional.

It had sold out most of its return run to the Soho and looked sold out on the night that I was there. The Soho Theatre does not do queueing very well and we all jostled for position in the bar before being allowed upstairs, then it was something of a scramble.

I was surprised to find that we were going all the way upstairs, passing the main theatre as we did so. Our destination was Soho Upstairs which is billed as a rehearsal space. It was laid out as a square stage area (not raised) with seating on three sides, most of it to the front. I was able to claim a seat in the front row in one of the corners. A reasonable result for my earlier jostling.

Blink claimed to be an unusual love story about two slightly unusual people, and so it was. It was a great deal more than that too, which is why I found it exceptional.

The young couple are both unemployed but do not need to work (for different reasons) and end up in the same house, him renting the downstairs flat from her while she lives above him.

Their relationship develops without them meeting, it is all conducted via technology, and without him knowing that the woman he is in  relationship with is living upstairs. By chance he discovers who she is and their relationship becomes even stranger with them going to the same places at the same time but without talking to each other, as if the gap that had been breached by technology was still there.

A serious accident brings them together and their love blossoms. What happens after that I'll keep to myself.

The strange story had some lovely strange moments in it. For example, in the early days when they are conducting their relationship remotely one of the things that they do is watch the same TV programmes and we were treated to a detour in to the plots of a soap opera that they are watching.

There are many memorable moments like this in the script but its main strength, and beauty, comes from the richness of the dialogue and narration. There are an awful lot of clever ideas and nice touches crammed in there. The script demands, and gets, your constant attention.

Of course a good love story requires a couple that the audience cares about and I really cared about Jonah (Harry McEntire) and Sophie (Rosie Wyatt). They were both realistic and lovable and both actors were excellent in showing all the details of their characters through their movements and expressions.

The set and few props were used imaginatively too.

Everything about Blink was cleverly constructed and brilliantly presented without ever forgetting that it was an unusual love story about two slightly unusual people.

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