Phil Porter's Blink, at the Drum, Plymouth, is an "interesting and amusing" 70 minutes
30 Jan 2014Karen Bussell
I like quirky, and Phil Porter's engaging rom com Blink, set firmly in the digital age, is nicely unconventional.
Where technology facilitates relationships at a remove and intimacy is just a keystroke away, Blink explores how screen contact can be easier and less threatening than real life.
Joe Murphy directs for the Nabokov theatre company, setting a brisk pace and excellent timing to define the nuances and allow the characters to grow.
Sophie needs to be watched else she "disappears". When her beloved father dies and she is fired – for lack of visibility - she becomes increasingly isolated and hermit-like, rarely leaving her inherited house.
That is until she anonymously sends her new neighbour a baby monitor screen and so the watching starts. They silently observe one another read, they eat together and watch one another watching their favourite soaps – coupledom at a distance.
Sophie stops vanishing and thrives on the constant attention.
Sharing the experience of the loss of a parent, a sheltered childhood and inheritance, Jonah has escaped a northern Presbyterian commune for the bright lights of Leytonstone. He is gawky and socially inept, and good at observing having been a night watchman since adolescence.
With his only friend the scabby fox who sleeps behind the garden shed, Jonah moves from benign voyeurism to stalking Sophie and the piece takes a dark turn.
Beautifully played by Thomas Pickles (Shameless, RSC's Wives of Windsor, The Mouse and His Child), Jonah's obsessive actions are disturbing but somehow understandable, tender but creepy.
Lizzy Watts (Artefacts, Filter Theatre's Twelfth Night) is delightful as the complex Sophie, introvert and self-effacing but actually quite definite in her command of the situation.
Hannah Clark's simple set comprises a 3D autumnal forest backdrop, a green carpet, two cardboard boxes and two metal desks. A couple of props are all that is needed to take us from Yorkshire to London and from sympathy to amusement.