Touch

Touch
written and directed by Vicky Jones
Starring Amy Morgan.

Sohotheatre.com
Thu 6 July – Sat 26 Aug 2017, evenings 7.15pm, matinees 3pm
Soho Theatre
From £10

Touch is about power. The question it poses in each of its many scenes is: who is really in charge in a relationship? The play paints a very real and all too shocking picture of what it is like to be a single woman in your thirties in the vast impersonality of London. Your time clock is ticking; you have to work impossible hours in low paid jobs that do not cover rent and food and you have not gotten even close to the life you thought you would have at the age you are. Your girlfriends are settled with children and a decent standard of living. All you have is your determination to make a life and it gets harder and harder to stay determined.

Dee (Amy Morgan) has left a failed relationship in Wales with Sam (Matthew Aubrey) to establish herself in London. Her base is a shit-hole of a bed-sit in romantic and exciting (she hopes) London. Nothing works in the flat but hey, it is all she can afford because she still hasn’t found a job. She shops for relationships on Tinder and a variety of websites desperate to find the life she thought London would offer. With each liaison she has, (and in this play there are five,) she believes she is the strong one: an independent woman in control. The reality is that each person she sleeps with tells her what she should be and deepens her insecurity about who she is and what she is trying make happen in her life.

Eddie is played by James Marlow….who has nailed this role to perfection, the attitude, the swagger, the confusion and the outrage. He brings her flowers and wine, calls her kitten and tells her he only wants her to be happy. But he takes the keys to her flat and appears unannounced whenever he pleases because in his mind she now belongs to him.   “You are not as clever as you think you are,” he tells her. “There are women out there who are doing better than you at being a woman. Who enjoy being a woman.”

But do these women really enjoy playing the role Eddie envisions? Or are they playing a game to get an end result that imprisons them and reduces them to “Ladies. Lovely feminine ladies. ….Ladies who lunch…. ohhh it’s so nice when it’s just us ladies.”(Dee)

Eddie continues: “There is a reason a lot of men don’t subscribe to feminism, and it’s cos it stinks of excuses.”

Vicky Jones’s writing slices through the smoke screens we put up to tell ourselves we are strong, moral people functioning as we should and moving toward the very dreams that will control us. Miles (James Clyde) is into Kink and S&M. Dee tells him she is interested in what it is like. Instead of actually addressing her curiosity, he patronizes her and mocks her sense of righteous indignation. “I know what you’re doing to me,” says Dee. “You are trying to make me feel weak,” and Miles answers “Oh it’s no fun for me if you’re weak.”

The only relationship Dee has that doesn’t force her into someone else’s mold is with Vera (Anaana Agyei-Ampadu) the girl she met at the gym. As that relationship develops. we see that in trying so hard to create a bond with someone…anyone…Dee has no idea how to create a real functioning relationship.   Vera asks Dee why she is living in such a mess of a place and Dee says “Don’t judge me as well (as all the men do)” Vera says “All your men. Who treat you like a baby.”

Touch is an eye opener and it is mesmerizing. The pace is perfectly pitched, and each character is exactly who they should be. They are the stereotypes we read about made real. The action mesmerizes us and there is not a dull moment or a wasted word. It is a must see on every level. It is entertaining, it is wise and it is what life has become, like it or not.