Being a single girl in your 30s is hard. Constantly being reminded by your friends, family and even randoms on the street that you are no longer a spring chicken and that the biological clock is ticking is not much fun. But the thing is you are not alone on the shelf (and this my friends is part of the problem!). Set in a ‘Love Recovery’ workshop led by a therapist (played by Samantha Gray) who doesn’t hold back when it comes to giving it to her clients straight, MATE is a hybrid live/filmed performance which follows the trials and tribulations of three very different 30 somethings (all of whom are played amazingly well by Alicia McCormick) attempting to deal with the painful realities of modern dating.
The first of the three singletons is the ever-so-sweet hopeless romantic Sarah who is simultaneously trying to get over her ex and doing everything in her power to find happily ever after (she even tries to do the whole Eat, Pray, Love thing by going to Paris). Then there is the somewhat crass Afrikaans chick, Jeanine who has been through her fair share of douche bags and understands that at some point one has to cut her losses and settle for a one-legged shop-keeper. Finally, there is the ‘Sloaney’ one, Elaine. A career woman of the highest pedigree, a typical Alpha female who has failed to meet a man who meets her high standards (or even just some basic understanding of English grammar!).
This humorous two-woman show, based on real-life experiences, really gets stuck into the nitty gritty of life as 21st-century woman. While having a laugh at the expense of the Tinder generation has become quite a thing these days, what sets MATE apart from other similar shows that it also makes light of how seriously a lot of us take our mission to find love; investing lots of time and money in self-help books and therapy, when actually the people peddling this stuff are probably just as hopeless as we are. At some points, this tragicomedy does get painfully close to the bone and I could certainly tell from the audience’s reaction and comments that there were lots of people who could personally identify with the stories.
Anybody who has tried their hand at online dating will be able to relate and even those that are happily settled down will enjoy the humour. I have to say I was surprised at the number of guys in the audience – but they all seemed to enjoy themselves so it’s all good! So whether you are just looking for some light entertainment or for a little bit of cynicism during this sickly sweet month of love, I’d definitely recommend seeing MATE. It is playing at the intimate Alexander Upstairs theatre till the 18th February and the first two nights were sold out so book ahead of time to avoid disappointment.