Wink – Theatre 503

WINKYou would have to have been living on a small island in the pacific to have avoided the interesting stirrings of a feminist movement that seems to be emerging at the moment. But (and please don’t lynch me internet) what about men? If women now have a whole host of role models to look up in mainstream media, who are the male equivalents?

And it’s this thought that Phoebe Eclair-Powell’s debut full length play Wink investigates. Spurred on by the rise of social media, FOMO, privacy settings and the awkwardness of teenage years, Eclair- Powell’s production explores what it means to be a modern man in an internet age. Sparky, twisting and entirely rooted in reality, she paints a vivid picture of a dissatisfied, 27 year old teacher and the 15 year old who longs to have his outwardly ‘perfect’ life.

The characters’ two internal monologues run parallel to each other with their narratives infrequently intertwining when the characters face up to each other, either in the classroom or the climatic finale. These monologues twist and turn through mundane thoughts such as the development of a hangover at work, through to the poignantly heartfelt, which gives the actors a great range to work with.

As John, the dislikeable teacher, Leon Williams, has just the right amount of sneering distain and cock-of-the walk confidence to remind you of that song ‘You’re fit but my gosh don’t you know it’. His easy stance and well-crafted nonchalance makes it easy to see why his pupil Mark, idolises him. Straight from the off, Sam Clemmett is convincing as a teenager aching to move to the next step towards adulthood but not sure how to get there. Together the pair have an interesting dynamic and the audience’s focus fluidly shifts between the two of them.

Theatre 503’s studio space is emptied and covered in enough white to make a contemporary dance company envious. Unfortunately, mid-way through the production Isla Jackson Richie (Movement designer) has the cast do just that. Although the blank space was used well the majority of the time, at times this aspect of the show felt a little self-indulgent and, along with the ending, could have been trimmed for greater impact.

Reviewed by Roz Carter

Photo:  Savannah Photographic

Wink is playing at Theatre 503 until 4 April 2015. For more information and to book tickets click here.