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Love, Sex and Apps at The Bread and Roses Theatre

Love, Sex and Apps by Michelle SewellLove, Sex and Apps presents a double bill of plays by Michelle Sewell: The first sets itself in an immigration office and decides the fate of a visa applicant based on the legitimacy of a relationship from its acknowledgement on Facebook; the second explores ‘The Tinder Game’ of finding one’s perfect match through dating apps, a game in which many of us now participate in.

The first piece is a twenty-minute conversation, overlapping layers of dialogue thrown across a table alongside a screen of projected images and screenshots. As insightful as some of the conversation is, there isn’t so much a dramatic journey, but rather a window into a discussion which focuses on one case. The acting often feels unnatural, which is perhaps unsurprising given that fact that the three actors don’t move from their seats. This method of revealing information is, at times, intriguing, but ultimately struggles to gain much active engagement. Yet perhaps it is this exact passive storytelling which represents the impersonal nature of this process; the fate of a romantic relationship is decided based upon to quantity and quality of social media posts.

The second piece, however – which differs in tone and delivery – is much more successful. Sewell captures those key phrases which any tinder user has heard or said themselves. It pinpoints that ‘moment of ecstasy’ for which users swipe right, not for the prospect of a lifelong relationship, but rather for an ego boost. Geoffrey Wolfe transforms from an awkward immigration officer who’s not quite sure what to do with his hands to a discreet gay man, awkwardly flirting his way out of the closet (alongside a host of other characters). Jay Oliver Yip – with, albeit, some questionable Australian accent in one instance – multi-roles to play a few the eight types of guys that tinder presents. Olivia Onyehara is equally engaging in the second half, completing a solid threesome of performers, whose energies work dynamically together.

Through its examination of social media, Love, Sex and Apps – particularly the second half – questions what it really means to be connected to another human being. The dialogue is witty and comical and uses topical examples to allow its audience to self-identify with the issues exposed. It features against a subtle soundscape which helps to set the respective scenes, and keeps its pace through constantly developing and inter-changing stories. For those not already on Tinder, it would potentially put off more than encourage, but maybe that’s the whole point. Ultimately, the second act is a light hour or so of theatre, which serves a simple purpose to entertain.

3 Star Review

Review by Joseph Winer

Over Here Theatre Company and Scotch Bonnet Theatre present
Love, Sex and Apps:
Border Control and The Tinder Game
by Michelle Sewell – directed by Lydia Parker
22nd November to 3rd December, Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm
http://www.breadandrosestheatre.co.uk/

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