The furtive glance. The half smile. The wondering if you’ll ever see him or her again. We’ve all had those moments while riding on public transportation, sitting on a park bench, or across the proverbial crowded room. And a cottage industry has sprung up to help people make that unmade connection.
Signal Failure tells the short and sweet tale of a man and a woman who become embroiled in the romantic possibilities of their fellow riders on the London Underground. Initially mounted at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the play’s theme is universal, and the IRT could easily be substituted for the tube. Lorna (the playwright and actor Sasha Ellen) and Brian (Spencer Cowan) portray 20somethings who meddle in and spy on other couples’ lives. When they finally meet through a misunderstanding on both parts, they fall into lust and love. Complications ensue (what is a good rom-com without them) and they have to repair their own relationship – not act as matchmakers for others.
Both Ellen and Cowan were lovely in their roles and showed the loneliness and hope of young people living in often anonymous big cities. I felt their big “reveals” were somewhat forced but it didn’t detract from the overall hopeful tone of the play. Signal Failure is definitely a success. AFW
Soho Playhouse, 15 Vandam Street
Through 11/18 – part of the Edinburgh Encores series
Tickets $45, (discounts available through papering services)