“We’re all just invisible muscles pulling on each other”: this tricky concept is the basis of Soh, the latest offering from Split Gin Theatre Company. The question on everyone’s lips: What is love? Is it feeling a river running under the skin of your lover? Is it the touch of a man who lives on self-hate and lettuce? Is it simply the words of men tapping on metaphorical typewriters?
We’re here in the Boy’s School at Smock Alley to tell stories, says the omnipotent disc jockey presiding over proceedings. We’re here to talk about ‘things’. When Will Watt sees a beautiful woman for the first time, he can sense three things about her without asking her favourite drink, favourite flower and her ‘clo’ (most preferred item of clothing). He’s a poet, talking a pretty story, playing with words and slyly entangling himself in the lives of two sisters, Emily and Sophie.
Justifications for his trickery remain undisclosed for a large part of the action, the audience left in the dark. James Hickson’s clever writing keeps dialogue short and controlled. Words are used sparingly and pack a punch that would curdle the insides. “Does Hamlet love Ophelia?” “Google it.”
A visually intriguing set designed by Emma Fisher provides physical representations of the onstage themes. Coloured ribbons extend long and plentifully from an old typewriter. Flashes of red, yellow and purple as they move, changing the dimensions of the space. All elements coalesce in this intimate glance at the workings of our human hearts.