August 14, 2012

Among the best in an uneven, theatrically slimline spread at the Traverse this year, Phil Porter’s two-hander announces itself at the start as “a true story and … a love story” but it’s neither of these in any obvious way.

The Guardian


January 16, 2014

Conducting one’s affairs through Skype, smartphone and social media has become so commonplace, it is hard to imagine there’s anything left to say about the disconnect of digital communication. Yet Phil Porter’s oddly engaging romantic comedy is, to the best of my knowledge, the first drama about a relationship transmitted entirely via the 10-inch screen of a baby monitor. Introverted software developer Sophie has bought the electronic babysitting device to keep tabs on her terminally ill father, who lives in the flat downstairs. Following his death, she keeps the tiny screen switched on to maintain a wordless relationship with the new tenant, Jonah, a timid recent arrival to London who grew up on a northern farm (actually, he admits, “a self-sustaining religious community”), and has failed to connect with a living soul – other than the mangy fox who visits the back garden.


June 10, 2014

There’s a quirky and charming love story playing at 59E59 Theaters as part of the Brits Off Broadway festival. Phil Porter’s Blink is worth your time as much for the unusual tale it tells as for the delightful performances of its two actors, Thomas Pickles and Lizzy Watts. At a modest 75 minutes, this comical, sensitively written play satisfies with its clever examination of a pair of sweethearts who love each other better when they’re apart. Shy Jonah (Pickles) enjoys taking apart old-fashioned cameras and dissecting rabbit eyeballs. Equally shy Sophie (Watts) lives in a two-floor London flat with her tax-lawyer father and works at a software company. After her father dies, Sophie loses her job because, according to her employer, she lacks “visibility.” Luckily her father left her a small inheritance and the two-floor flat. When Jonah lets the first floor through a rental agency, Sophie anonymously sends him a remote baby-monitor screen so that he can watch her. At first he has no idea where this mysterious woman lives, but he enjoys watching and she enjoys being watched. Eventually he discovers Sophie’s whereabouts (upstairs), and they begin dating oh so awkwardly until an accident lands Sophie in the emergency room, an event that tests the tenuous bonds of their relationship.


June 9, 2014

Blink is everything you want in a relationship play: funny, painful, affecting. This is all the more remarkable when you consider that its two characters, young social misfits named Sophie (Lizzy Watts) and Jonah (Thomas Pickles), rarely address each other. It’s a risky mode of storytelling, but the playwright, Phil Porter, makes it pay off beautifully. The play, part of the Brits Off Broadway festival at the 59E59 Theaters, introduces Jonah and Sophie through direct address to the audience. Jonah describes being raised on a farm in central England that was a religious commune, with his father in charge. His mother, he says, died when he was 15 but left him the means to escape and a letter encouraging him to do so. And thus the awkward country boy ended up in London, renting a room from Sophie. She too tells of losing a parent, her beloved father, who had raised her after her mother left when she was 2. And she too is an odd duck. How odd? She anonymously sends Jonah a video monitor. When he turns it on, he can see her, though he does not realize that she is his landlord (the rental having been arranged through an agency) and that she lives upstairs.