February 16, 2014

IdeasTap Takeover: Love Review

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What better way to celebrate Valentines Day than to watch a one woman show about online dating?

IdeasTap’s Takeover: Love happening at Rich Mix in Shoreditch this weekend, is a free festival of theatre around the theme of love, the elusive search for it and alternative romance.

We opted to see writer and deviser Hannah Pierce’s show: ‘Hannah_27 Valiant Adventures in Online Dating’. The performance replays out her decision to start dating online after being single for several months, through to her conversations and dates with men on dating sites Guardian Soulmates, Match.com and Tindr.

The show that had a minimal set, one beanbag and a projector, and simple costume changes, consisting of Hannah changing removing or putting on a onsie and a pair of boots, with a casual ‘dating’ outfit underneath. The one hour show was almost solely formed of Hannah telling us what happened, a really impressive feat of remembering lines as she had no other actors to take cues from on stage too!

Two main things that I loved about this show were that it was funny and that it was self reflexive. Hannah could have poked fun at the men she dated, but instead she poked fun at the whole idea of online dating – the fact that you have to brand yourself ‘trendy/ natural/ classic’ and the associations that go along with those labels (natural means dirty, for instance) – and at her own mistakes, such as a particularly bad nickname that she hadn’t thought of the implications of using as a profile name: Yoghurt_Chin.

The most obvious conclusion of the show, and the one we were all rooting for of course, was for Hannah to find her ‘soulmate’, but she didn’t. If the show had been a film, I expect we would have felt a little cheated. Where’s the sweeping romantic finale, where ‘The One’ appears at the last second and saves the day? I’m glad we weren’t subjected to the ‘happily ever after’ trope, because Hannah’s ending was refreshing and honest and thought-provoking.

Looking back at the sometimes cringe-worthy experience didn’t make the audience feel alienated. Hannah’s show had a feeling of camaraderie throughout it, that we are all in the world of dating together, whether single or in a relationship. It was a great topic to produce a show about, as the audience were mostly made up of young people in their twenties, negotiating their way through online dating. Hearing Hannah reflect on her experience, and what she learnt from it, was uplifting and heartfelt. We need more stories like this.

IdeasTap Takover: Love runs from 13th to 16th February and is supported by Arts Council England.

Image taken from IdeasTap website

 

 

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