BWW Reviews: BLINK, Crucible Studio, Sheffield, January 14 2014
Phil Porter's one-act, two-handed play Blink earned a number of warm reviews in its 2012 runs in Soho and Edinburgh, and is now on tour throughout the UK in March. The play tells the unconventional story of Jonah (Thomas Pickles) and Sophie (Lizzy Watts) whose lives have a number of significant parallels. They meet in unusual circumstances and things get stranger from there...
The performers are excellent at conveying the unease of these two characters who are each somewhere on the border between sweet, awkward and creepy - and their relationship with each other likewise. I don't want to say too many things about the plot for fear of spoilers, but it's bittersweet and at times both lovely and slightly sinister. It's also very funny, and as a loyal Neighbours viewer, I appreciated the lengthy recaps of some of its plotlines even if some of the audience may not quite have understood the reference.
The staging and lighting are simple but effective and well-suited to the intimacy of the Crucible Studio Theatre, where I saw it, but should transfer well to any small-ish space. The production is well-paced and the performers always engaging. The play itself has a lot of merit but something about it doesn't quite click - as if it is perhaps too self-conscious or hasn't quite worked out exactly who its characters are - Sophie's motivations, in particular, never seem to be that clearly worked out.
Nevertheless, there is much promise in the Soho Theatre/nabokov teams displayed in this production and whilst the play itself is not perfect, it offers a great opportunity to see the work of performers and creatives who are destined to do big things in UK theatre.
Blink is at the Crucible Studio, Sheffield, until 18 January and its UK tour continues January-March.