Brian’s a chef on late night duty who occupies himself while riding the Underground to and from work by watching how some passengers signal their potential interest in others, but endure the usual missed connections. He discovers a sort of personals column in a daily tabloid that prints messages from such people in the hope the people that they’re eying will read them and reach out. Still depressed by the loss of his girlfriend, whose fate is revealed later on, he begins to play Cupid by submitting messages to see—in a sort of proto-stalker way—how his meddling plays out. He’s thrilled when one of his matches succeeds, but wants to hide when those he’s encouraged encounter “epic” failures.
Lorna’s a cute office worker, closely attached via the phone to her Mum, who’s equally interested in observing passenger behavior. When Lorna also discovers the column, she starts watching for the people she thinks are thus making contact, and even begins seeking a note that might be aimed at her. Brian notices her constant presence at the places where potential connections are to be made, suspecting at first that she may be a reporter on his trail. One thing leads to another, Brian and Lorna become lovers, she unwittingly learns more about him than she bargained for, the affair crashes, and then . . . well, you don’t need me to tell you what follows.
Ms. Ellen’s lines, with their occasional British lingo and references, are enjoyably bouncy, but her boy meets girl, etc., trope is predictable, the breakup is too contrived, and the secrets each lover has been withholding are not particularly original. The production is about as low-budget as possible, and, while one can accept a set used for multiple locales while composed only of two large boxes and a door-like board (to create a bed for the inevitable romps in the sack), the rather ugly, cheap-looking, canvas backdrop (no set designer is credited), showing graffiti-scrawled walls, should have been left at home. Fortunately, Sherry Koenen’s barebones lighting design makes the most of its limitations.
Ms. Ellen and Mr. Cowan are personable and believable, each working their charm vibes to the max, although Mr. Cowan—vaguely reminiscent of a young Damian Lewis—tends to overdo his ingratiating smiles and tendency to run his hand through his unkempt hair. Their vehicle, however, mildly endearing as it is, lacks the sparkle and wit to stand out in a crowded New York season.