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Blink
Published on Friday, 17 August 2012
3

3 stars

Traverse Theatre (venue website)
Theatre
2 Aug, 5:45pm-6:45pm; 3 Aug, 8:00pm-9:10pm; 4, 10 Aug, 10:30am-11:40am; 5, 11 Aug, 1:00pm-2:10pm; 7 Aug, 3:15pm-4:25pm; 8, 15 Aug, 5:45pm-6:55pm; 9 Aug, 8:00pm-9:00pm; 12, 14 Aug, 3:15pm-4:15pm; 16, 22 Aug, 8:15pm-9:40pm; 17, 23 Aug, 10:30am-11:55am; 18, 24 Aug, 1:00pm-2:25pm; 19 Aug, 3:30pm-4:55pm; 21, 26 Aug, 5:45pm-7:10pm; 25 Aug, 3:15pm-4:40pm
Reviewed by Lynsey Martenstyn

 Recommended for age 12+ only.

Blink is the result of an exciting collaboration between new writing powerhouses Soho Theatre and Nabokov, written by Bruntwood prize-winning Phil Porter. This self-aware, kooky, tragicomedy is sweet – but doesn’t leave a lasting impression.

‘This is a true story. Of how we fell in love’. Blink tells the doomed love story of Jonah and Sophie, two friendless characters from dysfunctional families. Both encounter a small fortune, enabling them to float around East London, completely disengaged with their surroundings and finding solace in each other.

The story is told as a dual monologue, with each character telling the audience their side of the story at intersecting moments. This works well for creating comic effect – occasionally one character believes the other is thinking exacting what they aren’t. However, it also creates a distance between them both. There is not a moment when it feels as if the characters are in love; they are more pushed together by loneliness than any other emotion.  Sophie wants to be noticed and Jonah enjoys compulsively watching people. At one point, Jonah decides to watch a family, and is given a warning of his behaviour by the police; some audience members jovially laughed at this, but it created a dark side to Jonah’s character, which was never fully explored.

More generally, Jonah and Sophie are refreshingly unconventional. They not pleasant characters; they are only deemed likable because of the charming actors who play them, Harry McEntire and Rosie Wyatt, who spend a great deal of the play making eye contact with the audience. Behind the smiles, Sophie is essentially an attention-seeker and Jonah is an obsessive, mildly racist religious fanatic. Audiences will still leave Blink feeling a fondness towards them, and that is a commendation to the flair in which McEntire and Wyatt play their roles.

So Blink is less a love story, more a whimsical tale of two lost souls in London. The play feels clunky at times, especially when other characters step into the play. Jonah and Sophie play some characters; the actors playing Jonah and Sophie play others. Life-changing moments happen to each of the characters within the play, yet these all seem to merge by the end.

I can’t wrap up this review without a mention for the set, designed by Hannah Clark, which is one of the stand-out elements of the play. It features a plush green carpet and a backdrop of a panelled forest scene, with two small desks and two boxes adorning it. Beautifully symmetrical and artificially green, it resonates with the play’s focus on two similarly young, fresh people, who aren't as they appear.

If you’re a fan of inoffensive, indie rom-coms – such as Eagle vs. Shark or Nick and Noah’s Infinite Playlist – which focus on the ‘unconventional’ love stories of a young couple, then you will vastly enjoy Blink. But if you were expecting fireworks from a collaboration between Soho Theatre and Nabokov… well, don’t expect to find them here.

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These are archived reviews of shows from Edinburgh 2012.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

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