Over the last decade or so, dating has completely changed. Gone are love letters, childhood sweethearts and meeting at your local social club, and replacing all that is battling the perils of Tinder, speed dating, Plenty of Fish and the like. This has all become standard fare for singletons worldwide and something which might be fun to explore on stage. Since Games for Lovers is billed as a show about four millennials looking for sex, love and a well-located flat trying to navigate rivalry, desire, seduction and the new rules of love, you would expect it to not be terribly relatable to anyone who dated before 2000 and would focus on what being single as a 20 something now means.
The problem here is that this play addresses nothing to do with modern relationships, new rules or dating in the internet age in. For a moment I thought that this was the point and perhaps it the aim of the play was to say that dating now isn’t in any way different, that yes there are Tinder and online dating but actually the rules are just the same but I am not sure that this was the idea at all. Instead, the show gave us characters and a storyline with little depth
It is unfortunate as some of the actors on stage have a history of good shows (and films). The cast did what they could with what they were given, but there is only so far that gets you.
I was about to say that the standout performance was from Billy Postlethwaite’s as Darren but I think that is purely because he had the best lines in a not terribly exciting script. And to make it worse, the women are terribly written. In a time of modern feminism, empowered women and a drive to create more strong female roles, you would hope for characters with a bit more to them and who tell their main counterparts that their behaviour is unacceptable. Instead there was Martha (Evanna Lynch) who agrees to being taught how to hunt her “prey”, how to walk into a bar, look sexy and make sexual innuendos, and Jenny (Tessie Orange-Turner) who is manipulative and mean to everyone around her and even fakes pregnancy – because, that is of course what women do. Seeing women
Meanwhile the men are jealous, controlling and manspain to their female friends ala Logan (Calum Callaghan) or a creepy character of every man women avoid in bars.
Some may enjoy this and see it as a lighthearted but of fun. Sadly, for me, this was not the modern fun, show I was expecting. Instead, what we got was something reminiscent of Men Behaving Badly or any other number of 90s British sitcoms complete with predictable comedy and stereotypes.
Running until 25th August
For tickets go to http://www.thevaults.London or http://www.gamesforloversplay.com