Writer and Director: Hannah Samuels
Reviewer: Richard Maguire
It’s difficult to review Kiss Chase for two reasons. First, it would be unfair to reveal too much of its structure and spoil the surprise, and second, there’s very little theatre here.
Playing as part of The Bunker Theatre’s Breaking Out season, a series of short plays by new and emerging theatre companies, Kiss Chase is based upon speed dating. With apps such as Tinder and Grindr, real face-to-face dating seems anachronistic nowadays, but our hosts for the evening, Jim and Ruth, tell us we should keep our phones on anyway.
I’ve never been speed dating, but I reckon it’s very similar to the set-up of Kiss Chase. Indeed, at times it seemed so realistic it did feel like I was actually speed dating. Everyone seemed to be having so much fun that it was a shame when the game was broken up by a few monologues on the struggle to form relationships in London, which is, according to the programme, the loneliness capital of Europe.
These monologues are so short that it’s hard to be moved by their content. Apparently, they are based on real experiences, but the gay story doesn’t ring true, and becomes a mess of clichés. Another narrative arc involving Jim and his family wears thin quickly, and its serious tone jars with the otherwise jovial atmosphere. In the desire to create an authentic speed dating event, Second Circle Theatre Company have forgotten the theatre, and have created just that, a speed dating event.
Rachel Mills Powell’s set neatly conjures up a village hall or working men’s club and as Jim and Ruth, Scott Patrick and Rayyah McCaul are suitably overeager and cheesy, Patrick even singing some ditties on his guitar. It all looks and sounds perfect, and therein lies the problem.
You may meet some nice people – I did – but if you are searching for love (or even theatre) perhaps the dating apps are your best bet. They certainly will provide more drama than Kiss Chase.
Runs in rep until 7 July 2018 | Image: Contributed