LOVE ME TINDER – VIOLET ONLINE REBOOTED. Written by Sandi Caganoff, directed by Megan Furniss, with Lynita Crofford.
Review: CARLA LEVER
Love Me Tinder chronicles the comedic dating adventures of Violet, a painfully bored mid-40s divorcee. Violet is vivaciously brought to life here – as with the play’s previous manifestation, Violet Online – by Lynita Crofford. Written by Sandi Caganoff and sassily directed by Megan Furniss, we follow Violet’s amorous explorations as she enlists the help of every piece of tech from the Tinder dating app to battery-operated frustration fixers.
The script itself comes straight from blog posts from internet personae Violet Online – large chunks of it very directly indeed. The play’s structure mimics this origin: it strings together several short interludes connected by the general theme of dating mishaps.
Full disclosure: I’m on Tinder myself. As any of us on the app can tell you, the Tinderverse is packed with marvellously bizarre tales. Just this past week I found myself the sober plus one at a drunken party hosted by a minor European aristocrat surrounded by Americans in revolutionary war garb. A lawyer once breathlessly asked me to read to him naked … then confidently handed me Mein Kampf. An abortion provider once interrupted a particularly passionate gambit with a tearful confession of Catholic guilt. I’ve met artists and athletes, engineers and entomologists … mostly, I’ve met real people with real quirks. Some of them have even been pretty nice guys.
Rebooted and recharged, Violet is back
Tinder, like theatre, gives you a chance to peek into the lives of weird and wonderful humanity, up close and at its most vulnerable. In particular, Tindering in your mid-thirties, -forties and -fifties means acknowledging humanity in confronting, exciting and deeply personal ways. People “putting themselves out there” for whatever reason tend to be people with stories and, more often than not, they’re stories that pack more heart than heat. That doesn’t make for a riot of a comedy in life, but it sure as hell makes for a good story.
There’s a big market niche for the cool Cosmo expose, the salacious Sarie tell-all. And Love Me Tinder has the right recipe for success. However, it could perhaps use a little more work in transitioning between on and offline script: what might be a fun quickly-read cyber sizzle can easily turn to dramatic fizzle when it’s enacted for an hour. That said, Crofford does her best with the material, often hitting that Constantia yummy mummy caricature dead on. Furniss’ direction also keeps the momentum buzzing throughout.
So which way should you swipe? If you’re in the mood for a night of impish humour with a giggly blonde, it’s a match. Love Me Tinder does what it says on the box. Come looking for froth, for fun, for a romp through pop cultural references: the laughs (and there were many on the night) are in wry self-recognition. What you see is what you get – and in the age of the online catfish, there’s something quite refreshing about that.
Where and when: Alexander Upstairs until 24 December 2016