Vicky Jones’ Touch is as punchy, hilarious and perceptive as one might expect, following the huge success of Phoebe Waller-Bridge and DryWrite’s Fleabag. The story explores the life of 33-year-old, Dee (Mr Selfridge’s Amy Morgan) as she explores her sexual ambiguity in a shoebox flat in London. She’s in temporary employment, living in squalor and her sexual appetite is almost outweighed by her appetite for cheap wine. Her sexual partners include a spoilt teenage intern (Edward Bluemel), a male dominatrix (James Clyde) and an ex-boyfriend from Swansea (Matthew Aubrey). Perhaps most significant is her relationship with her friend/lover from the gym, Vera (Naana Agyei-Ampadu).
The play starts as it means to go on. Dee is tipsily performing an ironic striptease for her soon to be boyfriend Eddie (James Marlowe), she met through tinder. She is seductively using cleaning products and wooden spoons in her performance, clumsily dancing around the mess of her tiny flat. This hilarious moment brilliantly sets up the audience for the journey ahead and from that point on, the laughter rarely stops. Jones’ script is snappy, sophisticated and extremely captivating. It charmingly depicts the modern age and almost harshly dissects the people within it. The characters are uncannily relatable, particularly the “lovely feminine ladies” that Dee hilariously rants about. The ingenious writing is perhaps to be expected with the company’s glowing reputation, but nevertheless you are left blown away with some of the witty one liners. Jones touches on social issues such as politics and feminism, but it never feels overly forceful and is often found amidst comedic moments. Perhaps Dee’s character could have been explored in more depth as it feels a little difficult to be invested in her at times.
The performances are incredible across the board. Morgan is effortlessly entertaining, capturing emotions stretching from the flirty to the furious. Agyei-Ampadu is fantastically funny throughout but also has moments of emotional depth that are engrossing. Clyde is suitably creepy whilst Aubrey plays the role of the ex-boyfriend very well. Marlowe has a hard task of playing a very unlikeable character, but gives a strong performance. One of the highlights is the performance of Bluemel. The combination of a terrifyingly realistic character, incredible physicality and superb comic timing, makes for a hilarious couple of scenes.
Overall, Touch is a fantastically enjoyable piece. It lacks a little depth in it’s storyline, but more than anything it is outrageously funny. In terms of the script, the pace and the contextual awareness of the writing, it is stunning. It epitomises the modern day person’s struggle to strike a balance between independence and avoiding loneliness. It also brilliantly addresses the twenty first century generation that is desperate to lead a squeaky clean, functional and Instagram filtered life. Whether it has the same potential that DryWrite’s Fleabag had is hard to say, but it is certainly not to be missed.
Touch is playing at The Soho Theatre until August 26.
Photo: Helen Maybanks