‘Games for Lovers’ review

Theatre, Comedy
1 out of 5 stars
Games for Lovers, Waterloo Vaults
© Geraint Lewis

Time Out says

1 out of 5 stars

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Loud and draining dating comedy about a quartet of hapless millennials

Jenny likes Logan. Logan likes Martha. Darren also likes Martha. Martha likes a surgeon at the hospital she works at that she calls Doctor Boner. And, er… that’s about it.

Ryan Craig’s millennial comedy ‘Games for Lovers’ is underbaked to say the least. Director Anthony Banks makes an early attempt to stage it as something slightly more abstract, with the kidult characters bounding on to the stage, flailing about in kerrazy dance moves and shouting out snippets of info about their rubbish love lives. It then slows down into an uninvolving storyline about four deliberately contemptible people.

Billy Postlethwaite’s Darren is a sort of subpar Super Hans who owns a Jamiroquai-style fluffy hat and likes to dish out his turgid love ‘advice’ to anyone unfortunate enough to be in the same room. The idea is obviously to make him a hilarious ‘so bad he’s good’ caricature, but it never quite gets there. 

Calum Callaghan's Logan is a lanyard-wearing PE teacher who is totally in love with Martha yet pretends his over involvement in her life is simply a sign of friendship. At one strange juncture he mansplains Velázquez to her, but the rest of the time he just creepily repeats how well he can read her.

But the females are the real low point. Evanna Lynch’s Martha is the drippy, dopey blonde both men fantasise about, while Tessie Orange-Turner’s Jenny (whose surname, Sanchez, prompts constant comment from Logan) is cast as the manipulative psychobitch who fakes a pregnancy – because, you know, that’s how women do business.

Performed on a primary-coloured set that looks like a children’s playground, there’s a brief passage suggesting all this emotional stunting is caused by childhood abandonment issues. But whatever the reason, it ends up being a game nobody wants to play.

By: Rosemary Waugh

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