Premièring at the Fringe this year, Blink explores the backgrounds of two oddballs, and how an unconventional relationship blossoms before they even meet.
It is no doubt that Phil Porter’s play will be compared to the likes of (500) Days of Summer or One Day, and to a small degree it is in the same vein as them. The two worst words to describe this calibre of unusual love story which are thrown around frequently are “quirky” and “indie”- neither of which really mean anything, if we’re honest- they’re as bland as “nice”. Blink is in no danger of being described with these words (especially “nice”) as where it trumps these others, is in its depth and strength of character, and a fresh, modern zest to invert the age old “boy meets girl” scenario, smartly stitched together with wit, charm and a beautiful aesthetic. My initial thoughts were that the design was reminiscent of Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, a bleak 1960s pastel world of faded colours and mismatched technology, but probably because it created a false sense of nostalgia in the audience’s minds, despite its modern day setting, this only complemented the characters’ youthful inquisitiveness, exploring the play as we did.
A cast of two playing all the characters is not a new idea, and yet Harry McEntire and Rosie Wyatt managed to make it seem as fresh as they did the carpet of fabric grass beneath their feet, with use of just voice. This freshness comes from two incredibly likeable characters. Jonah (McEntire) and Sophie (Wyatt) are intelligent, comic and sensitive characters, and so the audience ultimately begins to hope for the best for them, and manifests themselves in these characters. They are not however the blurry stereotypes of films which allow them to be tailored to each individual viewer- they are distinct and thoroughly detailed characters, and made even more realistic by its almost interview-like style. McEntire and Wyatt are truly praiseworthy, and undoubtedly two actors we should all keep an eye on in years to come.
Blink is not treading any dangerous new ground, but it still delves into coping with loss of all kinds, and it is impossible not to be moved by it. The play is in danger of becoming monotonous, as for the most part, it is just story-telling, but its execution is perfect and it remains engaging from start to finish. It can polarise you from laughter to welling up and back to laughter again, and I think this is borne from… and I can’t believe I’m saying this… its fundamental honesty about love; it’s unpredictable, but that’s what makes it so exciting.