REVIEW: I Would Like to Get to Know You (Vaults festival) ★★
I Would Like to Get to Know You, like most – arguably, all theatre – is seeking the meaning of love. The L word, hand in hand with sex, affection, rejection, jealousy and heartbreak, has taken on a new meaning in the age of technology – a fact which is frankly mundane in its blatancy and decaying now into fact, not an observation.
More and more theatre is popping up looking to make light of the mishaps of Tinder, Grindr and general modern age dating. It feels a little done. And yes, it can be funny to explore these concepts when they bode no resemblance to the Disney education we’ve all shaped our expectations around. But without a unique take on the material which could leave a lasting message, there seems little point even attempting to compete with what has already been executed with such quality by the likes of Jimmy Roberts and Joe DiPietro in I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.
With a suspiciously similar title, I Would Like to Get to Know You, despite not being advertised as a musical, sees the actors Katherine Vince and George Cheetham exclusively sing, dance, play guitar and (somewhat unnecessarily) draw. The dancing is under-utilised, singing ropey and the songs all too similar and constant to really make an impression. Any substance to the piece comes in the form of verbatim interview recordings sharing varying perspectives on love – again, not a new concept.
The production feels like the rough product of a rehearsal room workshop. Undecided about what it is really saying – if anything – the show uses too many mediums, deeming its theatrical form as unnecessary. The best moment in the show, for example, was a short film where Vince was shown enjoying a romantic dinner date with her sex toy. The concept was original and amusing but felt strange to watch on a projector in a theatre as part of a live piece. It wasn’t clear why the exact action wasn’t just played out in front of our eyes, instead.
The subject matter of ‘modern dating’ feels flimsy, quick-fix and a tad expired. Having said this, if done well, it also holds huge potential to evoke hilarity and cutting emotion. Often the result of these themed pieces is black and white – brilliant or underwhelming. And this one, I’m afraid, is the latter.
Reviewed by Nicole Darvill-Batten
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