EFR - Reviews of Match

Match

Thu 2nd – Wed 15th August 2018

reviews

Molly Stock-Duerdoth

at 09:09 on 9th Aug 2018

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Clown and ostensible love guru Kiva Murphy welcomes the audience to this one-woman comedy with a level of humour and friendliness some will relish, and some will hope will end as the show begins. The latter half are out of luck; much of this performance relies on the participation and good humour of audience members as Murphy constantly interacts and summons many up to the stage without any explicit volunteering.

It’s a formula which, at points, works brilliantly. Guiding us through her eight stages to finding love, Murphy has the audience create an ideal partner using hilariously crudely drawn post-it notes on an inflatable man, arranges a Blind Date-style match making session, and diagnoses each audience member with the animal they most resemble in love. Although her jubilance and insistent enthusiasm mostly keeps the energy high, there are some moments when it feels as if Murphy is in trouble. When she explains her own parents’ courtship using plastic farmyard animals and squeaky voices, several audience members leave, but with those remaining Murphy soon revives momentum with some skillfully handled audience participation. She has a talent for keeping the improvised sections upbeat and entertaining even when the participants are clearly uncomfortable; she is careful not to push them too far and reacts with glee and kindness to even the most lacklustre responses.

Despite the adult subject matter, ‘Match’ feels a bit like children’s entertainment. Murphy, glittered from head to toe in purple corset and tutu, performs continuous slapstick stunts such as dousing the audience with talcum powder in place of a smoke machine. She adopts several different characters over the course of the show, always complete with elaborate facial expressions and extravagant accents. The production amounts to a sort of single-handed variety showcase, Murphy remaining unpredictable throughout, and the nostalgic feel aided by the remixed British Pathé clunkily projected above during scene changes.

This is a play which could easily be adored or detested. Whether it is enjoyable depends entirely upon how willing you are to participate and interact, and how able to suspend any aversion to silliness. If you can get into the spirit of it, it is hilarious, and the small, enthusiastic audience create a supportive atmosphere for those who do get involved. Just be prepared to answer “what’s your kinkiest fantasy?” live on stage.

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Claire Louise Richardson

at 14:20 on 9th Aug 2018

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‘Match’ is Kiva Murphy’s free fringe show for No Guilty Bones, detailing her eight-step fail-safe guide to finding The One. It is worth an hour of your time for a drink and a giggle. Kiva’s re-enactment of Blind Date, her 'match-making guide', her blow up doll assistant called Charles, and her multimedia clips provide a daft and cosy bubble of light-hearted fun. Her ‘smoke-machine’ of a squirt of talc to open the show was a reminder that we should take this show with a squirt of talc, or rather a pinch of salt. Murphy might not be on Broadway, but this is perfect for a Fringe venue.

This piece was described as absurd, but, if anything, this a familiar and reassuring assessment of the madness of romance and dating. It reminds us that the craziness is what is normal and to be expected. Murphy’s audience interaction is tongue-in-cheek, but not forceful, and I enjoyed being told in a quiz about ‘what animal you are and why’ that I am a panther, because I am ‘sexy and funny’.

Murphy is certainly a talent for improvisation, finding witty remarks even when contestants in Blind Date had dull responses to her questions. While some were already funny — Murphy replied to ‘what sauce would you be and why?’ with ‘hot and fiery horseradish’ — she also managed to twist a response of ‘ketchup’ into a quip, on the spot, while conducting the audience, her contestants, and an array of props.

While I did not find the narrative of the match-making guide absurd, I did find some of the ways in which it was explored quite odd. It felt like we had stumbled across Murphy exploring props and ideas on the drawing board, particularly when she produced a collection of plastic animals, proclaiming that they were playing a game of chess. With shows like these, you have to appreciate the will and desire of the actors to want to spend every night, all summer, squirting talc and playing with their plastic animals.

Overall, this show is quirky, jazzy, and a little bit silly. It's a slice of guilty, glittery pleasure to brighten your evening.

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