Review West End

BLUSH – Soho Theatre

blush

It all feels very safe doesn’t it, hiding behind a screen. You press send on those dick/tit pics, tweet that suggestive comment or press play on the porno, and get an instant rush of behaving, well, a bit naughty. You never once think about the possible repercussions as the likes, retweets and comments roll in. Each one providing a dizzy hit of affirmation.

But what happens when those pictures end up online, that tweet spirals into rape and death threats or the girls in the porno are no older than your daughter?

After a sell-out run in Edinburgh, writer Charlotte Josephine and Snuff Box Theatre, shine a harsh light on our growing relationship between sex and technology, and how it can destructively turn into a weapon. She presents five honest stories about image-based sexual abuse, detailing the heartfelt shame each one encounters.

blush

Josephine, alongside Daniel Foxsmith, flit between the intricately crafted characters, offering a carefully balanced view of the experiences. The girl, victim of revenge porn, could easily be your sister, the man addicted to porn – your dad, or the inappropriate tweet – your brother. She takes away the sordid association and instead makes it frighteningly close.

A blushing red centre spot becomes a platform for the characters to share their stories; vulnerable and exposed under the glaring spotlights. The monologues reveal how momentary gratification, has left a bitter taste. It’s hugely physical as Josephine and Foxsmith lap around the stage, burning off the exhilarating/anxious energy until crashing out and being left with the emptiness.

Josephine addresses the new legislation that was passed in 2015, making the sharing of private sexual images or film without consent illegal. It’s still clearly a pressing issue, without anyone to enforce or police it until the damage is done. What she encourages is the need for further debate and discussion… where do we go from here? What role does our individual responsibility play?

Edward Stambollouian directs a fast paced, hard-hitting 70 minutes, reaffirming the urgency of the issues BLUSH raises. You’ll leave with more questions than answers, but they’re vital ones. I’m sure you’ll think twice before hitting send. Ding!

BLUSH runs until 3rd June at Soho Theatre before embarking on a UK tour.    

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