Shaedates: or How I Learned to Love Myself

Shaedates is a show about finding yourself – quite literally. Although this one woman show holds together, parts that work are closely coupled with moments of cobbled surrealism within an unfocused narrative. Its got the vibe of a quirky American indie film and all the inauthentic sentiments that come with it.

Break this show into all its components its good, however, it just lacks a real emotional kick.

After Shae’s boyfriend fails to arrive to various events, she is forced into a self-realisation that it's ok to spend time on her own, which manifests as a second Shae to spend her time with. That’s pretty much the plot but it takes half the show to get to that point. There is nothing wrong with the setup, there is plenty of good stuff in it. But the lack of focus on what the show is meant to be about deters from the message. There is a section about a hide and seek competition that completely derails the show and has no later significance.

A lot of the running time is dedicated to descriptions of people, the scenes etc. there is good writing here and at its best flows like a Steve Martin short story. Though it does feel like it is more suited to the written page rather than on stage. There’s also big chunks of surreal narrative but it doesn’t flow naturally, it seems forced and over studied. With a handful of solid one-liners in the show, focusing on these for future projects might provide a knockout.

The acting is good it’s just a shame that the character is a bit bland. I never really grew to care about her as she seemed like a wet blanket even when her character arc requires that she becomes more confident. The take home message seems to be “it’s alright to be on your own”, maybe I’m missing something but I was unaware that that’s something people would be worried about.

Break this show into all its components its good, however, it just lacks a real emotional kick.

Reviews by James W. Woe

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The Blurb

After her award-winning performance in This is Where We Live – Best Play, Fringe NYC 2014, New York Critics' Choice, ***** (Time Out) – Shaelee Rooke is back with her new one-woman show, directed by Toby Hulse. Shae has a boyfriend but she knows he's not the one. Then she notices someone else... someone different... someone who's always been there. A tender, surreal and wildly imaginative comedy about a woman who finds true love by dating herself. 'A superbly acted, thought-provoking adventure' (Bristol Ferment).