Charlotte Pegram reviews Blush at Soho Theatre
Revenge can be sweet, but it can also be rash. Revenge porn is perhaps one of the easiest and most ill-judged ways of getting one over your ex, and Snuff Box Theatre examine the speed and ease with which people can upload images of themselves and others online.
Presented with half a dozen characters, the audience witnesses how quickly things can get out of hand online. It might be a school girl whose boyfriend shares a home sex tape with a couple of mates and which quickly circulates on porn sites. Or it might be a shy girl who takes some naked selfies to prove herself to potential suitors on dating apps. Or it might be a guy who gets into a twitter debate about feminism which quickly leads to the rest of the trolling public posting rape threats. The internet is clearly shown to be a dangerous place; ever-changing and yet a permanent stronghold of all the images we’ve ever posted. The writer, Charlotte Josephine, also explores the paradox of the internet being at once accessible to all, and yet being completely remote and unreachable when things do go wrong: how do you retrieve an image which has gone viral? Who is to blame if an image is unintentionally made public and then liked and shared thousands of times?
The performance given by Daniel Foxsmith and Charlotte Josephine is exceptional; their transition between characters is clear and crisp, their energy levels are off the scale and they weave in some excellent moments of physical theatre too. This show was a hit at the Edinburgh Fringe last summer and is in a perfectly honed form at the moment with an imaginative sound and lighting design to really draw out the voyeuristic themes. What is interesting is how the structure of the piece allows each character to develop their story fully. Often, a two-hander of this nature becomes ever-so-slightly irritating as the audience lose focus on the overarching narrative with each quick succession of character changes, but Josephine paces the plot well, giving just the right amount of time to each character before returning to another narrative thread.
This play packs a punch in terms of its thematic content, but this shouldn’t deter audiences who tend to steer clear of ‘issue’ plays. It’s powerful but isn’t preachy and it weaves in a fair amount of black comedy too. It’s not a cheery night at theatre, but it certainly makes you sit up and take notice. The full throttle performance of Foxsmith and Josephine are enough to warrant buying a ticket.
Cast and Creatives
Writer: Charlotte Josephine
Director: Edward Stambollouian
Designer: James Turner
Sound Design: Harry Blake
Lighting Designer: Seth Rook Williams
Costume Designer: Holly Rose Henshaw
Choreographer: Polly Bennett
Producer: Jake Orr
Dramaturg: Sarah Dickenson
Cast: Charlotte Josephine, Daniel Foxsmith