Blink, Traverse Theatre, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show details
Soho Theatre and Nabakov
Phil Porter (writer), Joe Murphy (director), Hannah Clark
(designer), Isobel Waller-Bridge (music and sound), Jack Knowles (lighting design), Paul Jellis & David Luff (producers)
Thomas Pickles (Jonah), Lizzie Watts (Sophie)
Running time

Love is whatever you feel it to be, and sometimes ‘love’ might simply be two rather strange people feeling that they meet each others’ unusual needs at a particular moment in time. Blink is a story about such love.

Ex-lovers Sophie and Jonah were seated on office chairs behind metal desks, waiting to act out their own, true love story. The rugs stretching out from under them the colour of summer lawns, and the screens behind showing trees and light and air were incongruous as a backdrop to the filing cabinets and anglepoise lamps.

This awkwardness was mirrored by Jonah, who alternately buried his head in his papers or stared nervously round at the audience. Sophie was more relaxed and seemed comfortable with being watched – of which, more later.

Jonah had been raised in a self-sufficient, religious commune and arrived in London knowing little of life beyond his insular world but equipped, at least, with a case of money his mother had secretly left for him, buried behind the cow-shed, before she died. Jonah rents a flat and keeps watch over a fox that feeds in his garden. Jonah likes to watch.

Sophie moved to London with her dad, who protected her from the world and, in her words, made her ‘feel visible’. After his death and her subsequent sudden unemployment, Sophie slowly began to slip into invisibility, frequently experiencing herself as a ghostly, transparent figure. Sophie needs to be seen.

The story they told was of the painfully-slow nurturing of a fragile love that unquestioningly carried within it the uncomfortable undertones of the stalker and his victim. However, the social naivety of Jonah, alongside the fact of Sophie’s contrivance of the voyeuristic situation that – let’s face it - satisfied both their needs, turned the sinister into the eccentric and even the quaint.

The script, written by Phil Porter of the Soho Six, combined just the right amount of humour and pathos, with a careful and deliberate measure of seat-squirming discomfort. The set, too, was cleverly constructed, with simple elements that served omni-purposes in a surprising, quirky and stylish way. Thomas Pickles as Jonah was strangely and affectingly endearing, and Lizzy Watts played Sophie with an air of gentle sadness and serenity, both engendering an understanding rather than a judgement of their characters.

Jonah told us that, ‘Love is not a cast iron set of symptoms… Love is neither dirty nor clean’, nor is it the same for everyone. When you get down to it, we’re all a bit strange and no more so than when being honest about our private desires. This peculiar love story scratches the surface of the idiosyncrasies that exist within all inter-personal relationships. Leaving many questions unanswered, it intrigued and absorbed. And it begs to be delved into more deeply.

Show times

Runs 20 – 22nd February, 8pm


£15.50 / £12.50 /£8 (unemployed, disabled)