‘Love is whatever you feel it to be’, says Jonah (Harry McEntire) at the start of this quirky romance by playwright Phil Porter. Shortly after the death of her father, still-grieving Sophie loses her job at a software developer, made redundant due to her apparent ‘lack of visibility.’ In fear of losing herself entirely, with a camera in tow she posts a one-way video screen to Jonah, a stranger living upstairs, starting to film herself doing everyday tasks. As Jonah watches on with an ambiguous sense of innocence and voyeuristic desire, they soon begin, albeit separately, to live their lives together.
It’s an enchanting allegory for the growing separateness of modern relationships. For the first half of the play the two main actors don’t interact with each other, but rather deliver monologues that alternate, as Jonah pursues his new-found fancy. Never has stalking seemed so charming. McEntire may have been a little too kooky for my liking, but he captures an introversion that suits the character, while as Sophie, Rosie Wyatt creates a perfect balance between seeming independence and insecurities that lie deeper down.
It would have been interesting if the production had embraced the play’s multimedia possibilities, but Porter’s script, while occasionally lapsing into cliché (especially when the two stories crash together), generally makes the most of its modern spirit, with a hint of old-fashioned sensibility. Perhaps that’s the idea - like something out of a Wes Anderson film, the play is designed in such a way that it seems like something from another era, with beiges and autumnal colours in abundance. But this is a contemporary play that raises the issue of relationships being clouded by what we ‘feel’ them to be rather than what they really are.