The Tinder Tales

Mon 14th – Sat 26th August 2017

reviews

Laura Wilsmore

at 18:01 on 19th Aug 2017

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Upon entering the room for the beginning of ‘The Tinder Tales’, the atmosphere was electric. Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’ was playing, with all the cast chatting and using their phones on stage. I was excited and felt ready to see what would unfold. However, from then onwards, the energy dissipated. What followed was a string of re-enactments of verbatim Tinder dates, from meet ups with hipsters in Shoreditch to stories of Catfishing. At times, I laughed at the absurd realities of modern dating and at the odd personal touches in the performance. Nevertheless, for the most part, the tales were disjointed and frankly rather tedious.

The transitions between the interviews and recreations of the real-life stories were not at all clear or polished. Truthfully, the awkward nature of the changeovers simply emphasised the fact that the show lacked any real substance. In addition, I felt that directors Elizabeth Bailey and Emily Ashbrook need to clarify what the performers are meant to do when they are sat outside the action and are observing. Often, my eye was drawn to how disinterested they looked. There is a fine line between being relaxed and simply being unprofessional. If they decided on a set position to sit or a certain way to distinguish between when they were performing and not performing, the show would feel much more refined.

The show is described as ‘optionally interactive’, but it was far from optional or even being enjoyable. Awkward audience interactions in a short ‘fake date’ bit did not receive enough laughter to justify the use of them. Mainly, I was laughing out of sympathy and confusion. The ensemble frequently mumbled through their respective monologues. The desire to be authentic meant that audibility was lost. A cast member that occasionally acted as the interviewer of the Tinder users sounded particularly strained and false, counteracting the relaxed characterization that other performers were trying to achieve. There was, however, some glimpses of potential brilliance. The tales of a Cambridge student still attached by the umbilical cord to her mother and a Spanish pool cleaner Diego brought back the energy, whilst a simple monologue about a manipulative date experience was simply chilling. Unfortunately, these moments got lost in a sea of bad renditions of bad dates, much like many potential good matches on Tinder.

The premise of ‘The Tinder Tales’ is interesting, aiming to expose the regrettable and riotous moments of our exploits in the modern dating scene. Hearing how Tinder directly affected the cast and crew at the end of the performance was very telling. However, there are only so many laughs that indistinguishable monologues and frequent sex simulations can achieve. ‘The Tinder Tales’ is like your average Tinder date; cheap, short-lived, and leaves you questioning whether you should have gone in the first place.

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Clarissa Mayhew

at 13:28 on 20th Aug 2017

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Chronicling the misadventures in love and lust of ever connected, device obsessed millennials, Tinder Tales is gruesome, filthy and oddly relatable.

A verbatim show, constructed from entirely true accounts, the show felt like an evening of confessions with the girls. The actors narrate and act out their weirdest tinder dates, complete with dodgy demonstrations and physical recreations. One account of a Clapham High Street Sid Vicious lookalike was a particular stand out, given with properly funny delivery and comic timing. Other anecdotes were less funny, even rather harrowing: the tales range from classic f*ck boy stories to the seriously unpleasant - finishing on a specifically horrible memory of an actually abusive situation. As such, the show felt confusing in its generic unity: to end what had initially felt like comedy on such a dark note left me unsure of what kind of response it hoped to convey. The closing comments of each of the actors helped give a sense of an attempt to suggest a nuanced and balanced representation of the notorious app, but the muddle remained.

The diversity and range of the stories kept the 50 minutes interesting and snappy, avoiding feeling repetitive despite the narrow theme of the recollections. The use of stage space with all the nonspeaking cast spread along the back of the set, allowing each changing speaker a central spot worked well in focusing attention on every individual story yet the revolving cast of actors created its own clarity issues. Male actors delivered women’s memories and vice versa without any explanation leading to some confusing moments.

The quality of the acting varied considerably across the cast with some potentially comic material falling rather flat due to lacklustre telling. Audience laughter was limited considering the possibilities for humour in the raunchy subject matter. Nonetheless, the show was overall well written and relevant insight into a bizarre 21st century phenomenon.

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