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A Tinder Trilogy by Annie Jenkins at The Hen and Chickens Theatre

A Tinder Trilogy by Annie JenkinsA Tinder Trilogy features 3 monologues loosely connected by Tinder. Tinder is not by any means the main feature though, and each piece goes far deeper. They are delivered by three captivating performers who show us a glimpse of what womanhood means today for millennials trying to navigate modern society.

Each one takes her turn to invite us into their story. They all remain onstage throughout. This is not distracting – the stage divides up each of their surroundings clearly. We are shown Geri’s makeshift tent, Beth’s bed and George’s festive living room. Whilst this is clear since the performances do not interlink at all, perhaps they could have taken to the stage one by one, or lighting could have been used to give the performer privacy. Perhaps even some scene that links the characters and connects them in some way might have been interesting so that the format was less of a tick list as we awaited each woman’s monologue.

We began with Macpherson who played Geri naturalistically. It felt like talking to a friend. Her speech was delivered in a warm engaging way. Humorous moments were not overdone and came easily. We were told of her suspicion that an old school friend may have later become involved with crime due to his neglect and disinterest in nurturing Tamagotchis. Kudos has to go to the writer Annie Jenkins, who then added that this was the very same boy Geri had lost her virginity to in a front garden. The conviction with which Geri told her audience this added to its ludicrousy and the amusing circumstances in which she then lost her virginity to him gave a relevant resonance to millennial life. Macpherson had us at ease throughout these musings, so that when she delved deeper and revealed that she had just undergone an abortion after having fallen pregnant with ‘Tinder471’’s baby, we felt we related to her and were completely with her and felt utter empathy for her situation.

Next up we met Beth recovering from a sexual encounter with a woman from tinder. She is coked up and Jonna Blode Hanno gives a dynamic, energetic and hugely funny performance. She goes round and round her narrative as a result of the drugs taken and we learn about her first period – a competition apparently with a girl from school, her love of Gemma Collins and Sharon from Eastenders and her dislike of choking during sex. We are taken on a roller coaster ride until we land upon the issue. A past experience has made the sexual kink of strangulation unbearable for her, though this is not something she ever tells a partner… until she snaps and turns upon another. Jonna Blode Hanno’s animated depiction of Beth means that when she becomes vulnerable, it silences us. Her performance is powerful and gives food for thought on what sexual assault and consent really is and why it needs to be a topic for discussion.

Finally, we enter a gloomy George contemplating a lost friendship at Christmas time. Laura Thomasina Haynes shows us the heartfelt loss at the distance felt after a friend enters a new romantic relationship and they begin to drift apart. It is a nostalgic reflection on the good times and what went wrong and an attempt to fill a void with baked goods and lovely but boring flings on Tinder. The complication of connection in the modern age and how to do it are gloomily put before us.

Each piece was well-rehearsed and delivered with heart and humour. They delved into the trials and tribulations of modern life and the poise and fierceness with which a young generation faces them. I do think though that the inclusion of “Tinder” in the title was a little misleading, and that the show gave us much more than an insight to the infamous app.

4 stars

Review by Freya Bardell

3 GIRLS, 3 MONOLOGUES.
Meet Geri, Beth and George – a set of talking heads for a generation of frustrated Tinderers. The show is made up of three monologues and while each strand is self-contained they work in conversation with each other; interrogating ideas about loneliness, intimacy and the swipe-swipe sensibility of contemporary dating.

• Tinder471: ‘Unencumbered by the need for commitment, I just want fun.’

Cosily hidden away in her DIY den in her parents’ spare room, Geri jabs increasingly irritably at her new Tamagotchi. Why is this so bloody difficult? Though equally, why does she care so much?

• My Son is in the Kitchen Eating a Biscuit: ‘I didn’t want him touching my knife with those sticky hands, I remember feeling very thankful for the plastic casing. I think it is early encounters with men like this that turn us into lesbians.’

Coked up Beth sits in her room watching Gemma Collins clips. She’s by herself, Sophie’s just fled – but why? A monologue about sex, Michael Jackson and Sharon from Eastenders.

• Sausage Roll Moment: ‘You wont even lend me your vag in my hour of need, what about the fucking spirit of Christmas?’

It’s Christmas day and George sits alone on the sofa dwarfed by a giant tree, surrounded by Greggs wrappers. Joel’s gone out for more cans. He’s lovely, he’s got lovely teeth. And knees. But who does George really want to spend Christmas with? And why aren’t they here?

A TINDER TRILOGY by Annie Jenkins
Saturday 4th – Tuesday 7th August
9pm (Running time 1 hour)
The Hen and Chickens Theatre 109 St Paul’s Road, London N1 2NA
www.camdenfringe.com

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