Theatre show-cum-dating event from the ever-interesting Rob Drummond
Two nights before the Fringe, I watching an episode of Channel 4 dating show ‘Naked Attraction’. Accurately characterised by critics and viewers alike as a nadir for humanity even in this nadir-iest of years, it involves a contestant whittling down a potential date partner from a panel of five based on nothing more than seeing them naked in order to prove, er, nothing. It is awful and sad and makes me weep for the lost innocence of ‘Blind Date’.
Which is one reason why I was charmed by high-concept Scots theatre maker Rob Drummond’s latest. Following on from his excellent ‘Bullet Catch’, which culminated in his persuading a member of the audience to shoot him, ‘In Fidelity’ is slightly less alarming, being set up like a old school non-awful TV dating game, with the object being to pair off two members of the audience.
It is really good fun, and even if I was a little mystified as to how Drummond managed to pick two such terrible matches at the press performance (one, Sarah, seemed to actively loathe the other, Fred, from the moment she met him).
Of course, this being theatre it aspires to more than being fun, and Drummond overlays his gameshow with scholarly digressions about the meaning of love – clinical and romantic – and stories about his long-term partner and his accidental semi-entanglement with a girl he got talking to on a dating site while ‘researching’ this show.
It’s all interesting, but unlike the nerve-wracking ‘Bullet Catch’, there’s something inescapably safe about ‘In Fidelity’: there seems to be little likelihood of Drummond confessing to fucking up his entire life in the course of making this show, and the fact the on-stage ‘date’ seemed doomed from the outset made it seem less significant than it might have done if they’d hit it off. But it is very enjoyable, if nothing else a hark back to a kinder, gentler era of dating show.