In theory, I really like romantic comedies. In practice, they’re usually horrible. However Blink (playing until June 29 at 59E59‘s Brits Off Broadway festival) is a non-horrible romantic comedy. In fact I’ll go further and say it’s a good romantic comedy. It’s also a totally dysfunctional one. Jonah (Thomas Pickles) lives downstairs from Sophie (Lizzy Watts). Things get weird when the two of them establish an odd voyeuristic relationship before they ever meet.
This show is an exercise in storytelling: the actors describe their lives and the events that led up to their meeting, addressing the audience directly. We don’t get much dialogue between Jonah and Sophie, but the actors interact with each other frequently, acting as characters in the other’s story, interrupting each other with comments, even occasionally telling stories jointly.
By the end I felt like the plot twists were more about symmetry in storytelling than the actual choices or actions these characters would have taken. No matter, though. The writing is dynamic; the characters are fascinating and tragic; the plot twists are fun. Plus the actors are compelling and likeable. Mr. Pickles (who has the best name ever) especially has a poofy-haired, off-kilter quality that makes his bizarre (read: creepy) actions almost endearing.
Blink reminded me of Midsummer: A Play With Songs, another two-hander romantic comedy imported from London and Edinburgh. Last year I recommended that play to friends as a good “date” play and was later told it was too racy and weird and awkward for any kind of normal date. (Oops!) I suppose Blink might be another one that’s too awkward and weird to be a good date play. But who cares. Go see it anyway. It might not be a good date play, but it’s a a great conversation starter.
My Grade: A-
Running Time: 75 Minutes
Ticket Price: $22 on TDF
Worth it: Yes
Standing Ovation Watch: No