26 May 2017

Blush at The Soho Theatre

Blush, currently showing at the Soho theatre, covers the emotive and very relevant topic of revenge porn.  With the passing of new laws throughout the world to try and tackle this modern issue, Blush looks into why people act the way they do online and how this can affect people's lives.

The two performers play three female and two male characters covering all sides of revenge porn, from the senders, to the receivers, to other family members.  The primary emotions at play here are anger and humiliation, making it a raw, honest performance that at times can be hard to watch.

The male characters are both blokey, slightly cocky characters, which can come across a bit stereotypical, and would have benefitted from a tad more subtlety to bring the characters to life.  Gestures for all characters aired on the side of the obvious and theatrical and could do with some finesse.  Some characters did seem to be more realistic than others however, the young woman who posts pictures of her boyfriend seems the most interesting and believable, and is well performed by Charlotte Josephine however sadly, other characters seemed to be unrealistic.  In particular the young girl who is a victim of revenge porn who acts much younger than the early 20’s that she describes herself as.  Although she is supposed to be a young woman, she has a complete naivety about technology, social media and relationships.  The way she speaks makes her come across as a pre-teen, which causes some confusion and leaves it open to the possibly dangerous interpretation of stupidity in a performance that should be fighting to show the opposite.

One of the male characters discussed the psychology used in getting people addicted to mobile games in relation to a TED talk, and made a really interesting comparison as to why people use social media and send photos, whilst managing to avoid victim blaming.  The reward part of the brain getting a good reaction to images of themselves can be addictive, and it was brought in to the performance in a really smart, natural way.

The humour aspects in the play could do with work, as unfortunately they barely land and this could have added a bit more depth to the performance as a whole.  I also found the characters to lack distinction throughout some areas of the performance, especially the male characters, which did cause some confusion.  The female characters did seem to become more distinct as the play continued and the show really got into it’s stride.  The performance really hits it’s peak during the poetic sections, here the honesty, anger and pacing really hit home in a powerful way.  Around ¾’s through the play the energy really builds to make an energetic and truly powerful scene which was the definite high point in which both actors shine.

Overall it’s an OK performance, with moments of real passion and prevalence, that gets let down in other areas making it sadly forgettable.  This could be a great performance with some re-working.

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