LONDON THEATRE 1
By Emily Diver | Jan 24, 2019 ★★★★★
Blink is a surprisingly heart-warming, if slightly strange, tale of life and loneliness in London. When Sophie and Jonah find themselves in the big city, having recently lost loved ones, loneliness takes hold until Sophie comes up with an unusual way to make herself feel more visible in a city of strangers. Sending her downstairs neighbour Jonah a camera, she goes about her everyday life with someone watching her, keeping her noticed.
Ashley Gyngell is fantastic as Jonah, the socially awkward young man who has grown up on a religious commune and has no real idea of how to behave outside of its walls. He is funny and genuine, and a character who could seem sinister in someone else’s hands becomes loveable and sweet. Gyngell’s transformation into the ‘other Sophie’ during one scene was brilliant in both its believability and hilarity. Georgie Halford is touching as Sophie, and especially touching in her portrayal of the grief that comes with losing a loved one.
By James Hibbs | Oct 22, 2021.
Knowing very little about Epic Love and Pop Songs when I walked into the New Wimbledon Theatre Studio, I can’t say I wasn’t mildly taken aback as the cast burst into a rendition of Katy Perry’s Firework at the end of the opening sequence.
I had been warned – a songlist including hits from Madonna, Sonny & Cher and of course Beyonce was tucked inside the programme. Plus, well, it was in the title. But it still somehow came as a shock.
First performed as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Epic Love and Pop Songs is a two-hander about teenagers Doll (Georgie Halford) and Ted (Roel Fox).
Doll is a disaffected schoolgirl and self-proclaimed freak who tells the audience the story of her friendship with Ted, an idiosyncratic and submissive boy still affected by a traumatic experience in his past.
No matter how involved Ted becomes in the narrative, Doll reminds us repeatedly that this is her story. But is it really?
Increasingly dramatic reveals underscore growing tensions and threaten to break apart the characters’ friendship.
Written by Phoebe Eclair-Powell, the script packs a lot of story into a compact 70 minutes, making for an engaging show that never outstays its welcome and balances comedic and dramatic moments deftly.
THE AUTHENTIC PROJECT
By Suzy Gill | Apr 3, 2019
First showcased in short last summer as part of the June Actor Awareness new writing night, Simon James’ ‘The Toad in the Hole’ dives headfirst into the issue of class via the medium of the education system. On a surface level and indeed, initially, the play is fun, light and joyful. We observe the talented Tom McNulty, Valerie Antwi and Nicola O’Keeffe as three young friends at primary school. They’re eager to learn and their enthusiasm and enjoyment is infectious. However, their teacher, Miss Bailey (Clare Woodward), has instigated a change that they don’t quite understand: a ‘minibeast’ labelling system that has resulted in their separation to different tables. Butterfly, Moth and Worm are the new monikers and immediately James’ play very quickly cuts through to a deeper and far more urgent question in which explorations of talent, natural intelligence, birthright and the unquestioning belief in authority bring the issue of class privilege to the fore.
The concept is clever and quite deliberately clear. The setting, a classroom with the looming threat and the presence of a power hungry teacher (depending on your political views, an obvious metaphor) is representative of British society; the characters plucked from and representing what have historically been termed the upper, the middle and the lower classes that have become the archaic and incredibly problematic triad supporting our social structure. The minibeast system enforced by Miss Bailey, their teacher, amplifies this tenfold.