Blink by Phil Porter

Described as "unconventional, quirky, and voyeuristic", Peppered Wit's production of Blink by Phil Porter fulfills each of those descriptions. Whatever your understanding of love might be, it is almost certainly not what transpires between Jonah and Sophie. This is an odd take on a common subject, but then, as we are told at the beginning, "love is not a cast iron set of symptoms" but rather "whatever you feel it to be".

Even the sparse moments of humour are tinged with blandness, as though it would be a sin to indulge in too much jocularity

Even before they know each other, their lives have parallel moments in a series of life-changing and probably permanently damaging childhood experiences: his in Yorkshire, hers in Leytonstone. As young adults, they carry the burdens of their upbringings and childhood bereavements into dysfunctional maturity. Their early isolation is reflected in the simple set by Chris Alcock, which adapts easily to bring them together and with versatility to create the setting for each scene.

The production is sustained by the storyline and the intrigue is generated by observing the strange lives of these two people. The dialogue is slow, softly spoken and measured, yet this steady pace is maintained throughout; rarely is there any buildup of momentum. While this verges on the tedious at times, there is a certain fascination in the lifelessness with which Rob Hall and Tara Lacey portray their lonely, introverted characters. Their bland telling of this twin biography perhaps reflects who their characters are as individuals and what they briefly become as a pairing. Even the sparse moments of humour are tinged with blandness, as though it would be a sin to indulge in too much jocularity.

The other-worldliness of this tale creates a level of intrigue and sense of mystification in which "a willing suspension of disbelief" does not go amiss when contemplating the bizarre nature of some the events. The idea that someone would want to be stalked and have her life observed, to the point that she sets up the camera and provides the viewing screen, is not something most people would desire; but then many have done it for Big Brother.

If you are fascinated by what makes people tick and the psychological factors that impact on relationships, this life history and weird love story in one episode will have some appeal, but it is more of a curiosity than a gripping drama.  

Reviews by Richard Beck

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The Blurb

Peppered Wit’s five star production is unconventional, quirky, and voyeuristic. A funny, delicate love story, cleverly weaving themes of loneliness, bereavement, and consensual stalking(!) into the intimate and engaging story of Jonah, Sophie, and a fox called Scruffilitis. Their relationship is dysfunctional, darkly funny and unexpected - in more ways than one! Written by award-winning playwright, Phil Porter. “Superb performances... Raw, real and utterly brilliant” (Views from the Gods, Camden Fringe 2016).

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