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Flinch - Old Red Lion Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

WRITTEN by Emma Hemingford and presented by emerging company Sounds Like Thunder, Flinch runs at the Old Red Lion Theatre from May 28 to June 15, 2019.

When I microwave food, I have to look at the floor, I can’t watch the numbers ticking down. Another forty seconds closer to death. And, worse, failure.

Jess is an actor, or will be, as soon as she hears back from her latest dodgy audition. Mark works in the City, an ‘up-and-coming’ trader who feels he’s never really left the starting line. A little bedraggled but definitely fine almost some of the time, they coexist until the night they have an experience that threatens to undo everything. When a violent mugging of Jess turns out to be an elaborate practical joke, both Jess’ and Mark’s instincts are thrown into sharp relief.

The fallout from this incident uncomfortably probes the extent to which we are accountable for our reflexes – and how we acquire them. A perceived threat makes a painful mark on Jess, but does she have the right to feel betrayed by Mark’s flinching away when there was no genuine risk? And how can we laugh ourselves when, particularly in terms of sexual violence, there’s no such thing as a joke?

As the couple attempt to repair their differences, rom-com sparring exposes something more sinister: a raw, discomfiting discussion of masculinity, self-protection and culpability. All the while, Jess feels haunted by parallels in the creative industry she is part of. At once exploited and intoxicated by her profession, the lines between work, play, pretence and reality begin to blur.

A response in part to the #MeToo movement, Flinch is an unabashed interrogation of gender roles, emasculation, failure and the struggle for intimacy.

Flinch is performed by Joe Reed and Emma Hemingford.

Flinch is directed by Rosalind Brody and has set design by Owain Williams and Artwork by Laura Whitehouse.

Tickets: £15.50 (Full price), £13.50 (Concession), £10 (Preview). To book, call the box office on 0333 012 4963 or visit

Time: Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm.

Running Time: 75 minutes.