Ian Rowlands’s uneven Blink, inspired by a sexual-abuse scandal at a school in Wales, begins with teenager Si suddenly running away from his girlfriend and parents. Seven years later, he returns to see his father—now on life support—and reluctantly revisits the trauma that occurred with his theater teacher. The play’s most powerful and squirm-inducing moment comes when Si (the outstanding Sion Pritchard) finally tells his high-school sweetheart (Rhian Blythe) about the “words that ruined a life.” (“If you want to be a great actor, you’ve got to experience everything,” the nefarious teacher said, getting his pupils to undress.)
On a spare set with a raised hospital bed, Rowlands’s comic drama—presented by the F.A.B. Theatre of Wales—alternates between Si’s school abuse and scenes about his problematic family. Si’s mother (the talented Lisa Palfrey) sits at her husband’s bedside, bitterly recounting the family’s troubled past. When Si and his mother separately flash back to the bad times with Dad, they use the old man’s bed to get out their anger, kicking and punching it. But while hinting at his nasty temper, the often-confusing play never fully explains why they hate the man so much. Nor does it adequately connect him to the abuse Si suffered—which makes Blink‘s final, fateful act feel ridiculous and far-fetched.