Showing @ Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh until Sat 22 Feb @ 20:00 (on tour)

Before it starts, the two awkwardly hip protagonists, the fluffy green grass and Ikea furniture set suggest Blink is going to be yet another “quirky” rom-com, lamenting the first-world problems of Waitrose-shopping twenty-somethings. Luckily, it turns out this is just another red-herring in director Joe Murphy‘s modern love story that draws an unsettling parallel between so-called “social” media and the eternal dichotomy of big-city living— being surrounded by hundreds of people yet feeling heart-breakingly alone.

Jonah (Thomas Pickles)— a sheltered boy with a habit of spying on his neighbours— and Sophie (Lizzy Watts)— a grieving software developer who worries she is becoming invisible— move into the upstairs and downstairs flats of the same building in inner-city London. One day, desperately lonely, Sophie mails one half of a baby-monitor to her downstairs neighbour— so beginning an unconventional relationship with the awkward boy on the other side of her video screen. Unable to get up the courage to speak to each other in real life, the two become closer via quiet evenings watching each other watching crappy soap operas, until one day an accident lands Sophie in a coma and Jonah charges himself with her recovery.

Rejecting easy characterisation, Jonah and Sophie are likeable and worryingly relatable protagonists, each damaged in just the right places that their dysfunctional romance makes complete sense. Phil Porter’s zingy script is wryly hilarious and painfully honest, crackling with brilliant comedy balanced by moments of genuine grief. Pickles and Watts handle the constant dialogue with ease, creating an awkward affection between the two characters that gets the audience instantly on-side and doesn’t let go until the play’s perfectly pitched conclusion.

Brilliantly subversive, genuinely charming and unsettlingly well-observed, Blink is a love story-come-spy thriller perfect for anyone who has ever felt they were being watched—and liked it.