Contact.com

Theatre, Fringe
3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

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One night of uncomplicated sauciness. It’s all the affluent husband and wife in Michael Kingsbury’s new play are looking for when they advertise for the company of a younger couple. Sauciness is certainly what they get, but it’s rather more complicated than they imagined.

‘Contact.com’ is a kind of blander, less menacing ‘Entertaining Mr Sloane’ for the digital age. When twentysomethings Ryan and Kelly – who live on a south London council estate, first turn up at forty-somethings Matt and Naomi’s chic north London flat there’s a slight clash of cultures. But despite the initial awkwardness, the internet quartet really hit it off.

The play then descends into a psychological push and pull of sexual and emotional need. One night quickly turns into two days and then an entire week. But where she was once keen to have them stay longer, Naomi begins to think Ryan and Kelly have hidden agendas, while Matt, reticent at first, begins to believe he and his wife have a responsibility to the younger couple. Kelly and Ryan, meanwhile, are desperately trying to manipulate the situation, while also trying to keep their own relationship from breaking down.

There’s a strong cast here and Charlie Brooks is good as uncomplicated Kelly, while Jason Durr is enjoyably silly as Matt the psychoanalyst-turned-young-at-heart loverboy.

Kingsbury’s dialogue is smart, subtle and sure of itself, but there’s a point in the second half where the piece doesn’t have anywhere to go. Repetition and predictability stales things – first Naomi isn’t happy and Matt is, then they swap, then they swap again. There’s not a whole load of laughs, either, and the parts that are funny are often down to Ian Brown’s well-timed direction.

Ultimately, ‘Contact.com’ is a fairly entertaining snapshot of modern urban relationships, demonstrating that love, sex and the internet can prove a pretty dodgy threesome.

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