Luka likes porn. A lot. She watches it at work. She watches so much of it that her boss has started to notice. He thinks she has a problem and that she should get help.
Then Luka meets Jules, a teacher who, like her, is aroused by onscreen sex more than actual human contact. If they’re to stand a chance of having a real relationship they decide they need to kick their porn habits together.
Oli Forsyth’s play does a good job of exploring the different ways in which people consume porn and why, from the instant hit of GIF porn to the more voyeuristic experience of webcam porn.
It asks the question of whether it’s possible to become a porn addict in the same way one may become addicted to gambling and looks at the psychological ramifications of using porn an excessive amount.
And it does all this while constructing a convincing relationship between two people who are connected by the one thing keeping them apart.
Though Luka feels more developed as a character than Jules, Alice McCarthy and Olivier Huband convince in their depiction of co-dependency and need while also playing a number of other characters; McCarthy is particularly good as an uptight church councillor.
Erin Green’s clever set consists of a white box that reduces their world to a digital display, words on a screen.
While the show could benefit from being more dramaturgically adventurous, Smoke and Oakum is a company with a reputation for making smart, nuanced work exploring subcultures, from the world of boxing to illegal raves, and this is further cemented here.