Deleting dating apps is hands down one of the proudest things I have done this year. I mean, the struggle of it! The uncomfortable feeling in your gut as you choose the best photos of yourself (grimace immediately appearing on my face as I type this), idiotic captions that you would NEVER, EVER start a conversation with, the same quotes about pineapples on a pizza and how all men want is “someone who doesn’t take themselves too seriously.” Must I go on? No, but you must see the fruit of this most unnatural phenomenon of our century: the strangest strategy to find love in our disconnected world. 

Letty Thomas plays a woman who’s had it. Enough of the niceties, enough of the same boring questions, let’s get to it, shall we? Let’s immediately show our true colours and just say what’s on our minds. But her poor date, played by Archie Backhouse clearly didn’t get the memo. He’s still resolved on being the nice, liberal guy who smiles a lot and says ‘sorry’ even more. Thomas and Backhouse are electrifyingly good with an immediate love-hate chemistry that makes this show flow so well, you almost don’t want their date to end. I have an instant urge to hug Thomas and Backhouse, to thank them for this bare portrayal of modern-day dating.

In Strategic Love Play, Miriam Battye lets go to create a perfect, terrifyingly raw script that will resonate with pretty much anyone; it doesn’t matter if you’ve got a first-hand experience with dating apps, you probably know someone who has. The direction is like the beautiful foamy top of the pint the two protagonists chug one after another, Katie Posner creating the perfect atmosphere of intimacy with the help of Robbie Taylor Hunt, the Intimacy Director. Posner’s direction is spotless with just the right amount of space given to actors to cause uncontrollable laughter in the audience, the awkwardness so real you feel naked and seen. Rhys Jarman makes everything so much easier, letting the set work for the show and audience, the simplicity of it transporting me straight to a London bar with memories of my own Bumble dates with Blue Moons. 

When finally, secrets are revealed and the simplest, most beautiful sentence uttered: “I accept you” it gives us all hope of a happy ending. Is that what happens when we let our guard down and show weaknesses and past encounters with love? Come and find out. 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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