Photo by Sheila Burnet

Originally written for The Public Reviews

Now in its second successful run at the Soho Theatre, Blink is – it transpires – every bit as endearingly heartbreaking as promised. Jonah (Harry McEntire), an escapee of a conservative religious commune and Sophie (Rosie Wyatt), grieving deeply at the loss of her father, meet and fall in love. Or rather, they don’t quite meet and they decide to fall in love.

Blink is rather the antithesis to the Richard Curtis model of boy-meets-girl as boy actually rents the flat below girl and is party to the intimate details of her life via a digital baby monitor she has sent him in a fit of suicidal invisibility, while she subsequently allows him to stalk her around London. There is something so delicately innocent about Jonah’s pursuit and his lack of knowledge of any kind of acceptable social norms that, when coupled with Sophie’s raw and insensible yet utterly recognisable grieving process, make you dare to hope for the oddest of not quite couples. Wyatt’s carefully tended awkwardness and McEntire’s bashful enthusiasm for all things, however inappropriate, bring a joy and a tenderness to characters that could, if mishandled, have seemed more at home in the script of a Zooey Dechanel film.

Blink does so much in little over 80 minutes; cleanly cutting through all of the protective language to look at the senselessness and hopelessness of the grieving process when we lose someone we love, when life changes. The characters that Jonah and Rosie meet talk over them in a ceaseless babble of self concerned unawareness; overlaying their pain with a frantic diatribe of normality. All anyone really wants is to be seen. It explores our need to feel validated; by the presence if not the intimacy of another person. By the need to be watched to feel purposeful; perhaps commenting on the feverish way in which we document our lives online for the benefit of others. Or ourselves.

Love is not love, in this sweetly funny and achingly real modern fairytale. It is a decision. It is Scruffilitus; the mangy fox that Jonah feeds in the garden. It is not forever but it may be for a while. It can be anything you want it to be. And now and again, much like the end of Blink, it just sort of fizzles out quietly.

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