Theatre Review: Online Courting at the Hen and Chickens in Islington

New drama ONLINE COURTING explores the fun and frolics of internet dating. But it doesn’t quite set this critic’s heart aflutter...

INTERNET dating is one of those ever intriguing subjects.

Ten years ago, meeting a partner online was deemed to be the preserve of the sad and desperate – but in 2011 we are told that a third of Britain’s 15 million singletons are quite happily seeking love on the web.

That may sound like a bit of an exaggeration, but almost all of us know someone who has put a profile up online, and it’s certainly an area ripe for comedy.

Unfortunately Ruby Miller’s portrayal of the internet dating game does not quite hit the heights you hope for. The play is lively, fast-paced, and there are some funny lines, but in truth it’s a little predictable.


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Gerry (played by Ruby Miller) is the feisty, independent, borderline alcoholic who just wants someone to hold onto in the mornings. Tom (James Robinson) is the slightly nerdy but nice toilet designer who is too afraid of commitment to know what he really wants.

The pair are experienced internet daters before they meet, but after a rocky start they embark on a comic journey of lust, longing and even love as they finally meet someone worth persevering with.

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It’s never dull, the acting is good and the nosey waiters played by Benjamin Kisell are quite amusing.

But the rude, over-protective big brother is just annoying. The obnoxious Aussie dater with his crude references to tits and Sheilas is a bit obvious. And Tom’s naming of his manhood as Mr Tom is painfully predictable.

The problem is that you don’t learn anything new about the gauntlet that is internet dating, and there are none of the side-stitchingly funny oddballs that surely must populate these sites alongside the endearing normal Normans.

Maybe reality TV has made us a bit too desperate for the weird and wonderful.

* Showing at the Hen and Chickens Theatre, in St. Paul’s Road, N1, until Saturday, April 30.

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