The Match Game

The Match Game creates a fantastical dystopia and uses it to consider our notions of romance, and the existence of 'the one'. It's a very enjoyable discussion of the themes, with some strong character performances.

Complete with vacuous hosts and regimented control of the characters' lives, it is a very well chosen framing device for the simple story.

Double Edge Drama, the school drama group that gave us such names as Tom Hiddleston and Eddie Redmayne, brings to Edinburgh this year a play that has already won 18 year old writer/director Jack Clover a runner-up prize in the National Theatre's youth writing competition, New Views. The show is set in a world in which young people who want to find that special someone are brought to a venue in which they wake up next to a stranger in the morning, and have 24 hours to decide whether to stay with them forever, or never see them again. The catch? You can't leave until you choose a partner who also chooses you.

The script is good. Often funny, it presents us with genuine characters who are very rounded, especially considering the ten or so minutes we spend with each of them. We are given a strong sense of the damage that this set-up has inflicted upon them. The highlight here is the host of potential partners who are presented to the two main characters. Particularly worthy of note are Danni Phillips as the life-loving Violet, and Felix von Stumm as the increasingly sinister Andrew. The two leads are not quite so strong, but luckily they are always bolstered by the people around them.

The game-show set up is a lot of fun. Complete with vacuous hosts and regimented control of the characters' lives, it is a very well chosen framing device for the simple story. It is only a shame the play doesn't go a bit deeper. So much time is spent on the large cast of characters that it never really gets down to a discussion of its key themes, or to a consideration of the wider implications of a society that works like this one. In all, though, it's a fun way to spend an hour, even if it doesn't particularly get you thinking.

Reviews by Grace Knight

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The Blurb

Shortlisted: National Theatre New Views 2013 nationwide playwriting competition for 15-19s. Sex, hugs and bacon rolls. In a state-controlled programme, young singles are trapped in a speed-dating cycle of morning-afters. Waking up next to a stranger, they have 24 hours to decide whether to spend the rest of their lives with the other: yes or no, all or nothing. Jack Clover's script gradually shifts from a farce of mismatches into a dystopian nightmare, where happily ever after becomes a curse.

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