Tinder Rehab

A friend of mine and I were recently chatting about how – even today – sexism is still very much in existence. Unfortunately, this archaic viewpoint reared its ugly head today: combine that with what I can only describe as the worst show I have ever seen at the Fringe, and you have a rough summary of Tinder Rehab.

Though the technology might be new, there is nothing modern about the opinion: easily the fastest swipe left of the year.

A triple threat of lacking humour, prehistoric viewpoints and a general bore to the content set this production apart from the rest. Created by Bentley Browning (cue an overworked and puerile joke about the derogatory usage of the word ‘bent’) the piece aimed to detox the audience from their Tinder addiction using a supposedly comedic twelve step process. Patronising millennials and modern technology? What a wonderfully original idea!

After a particularly tedious version of Human Tinder in which a female audience member had to physically swipe between three male ones, Bentley thought it acceptable to physically place a ‘Reserved’ sign onto the girl’s chest until after the show. Even after time to reflect on this I am still at a loss as to what he had hoped to achieve, other than the symbolic, metaphorical and literal objectification of women. Sadly, though, this theme seemed to continue, and crept up in a good majority of the dozen steps he feebly tried to advocate. It crawled in when he asked an older member of the audience if she was her husband’s sex slave, and it popped up when he made crude and insensitive remarks about previous dates. Furthermore, in a futile attempt at a confidence-building step, Bentley went around the room and gave us a compliment to which we had to reply, “I know”. It turns out that I “take six women at once” – I won’t mansplain why this is degrading; there is enough of that in the show.

Using a disproportionate and uncomfortable amount of audience participation to fill the void of time, Bentley gets us up on our feet to flirt with other audience members whilst putting on a somewhat irrelevant twitch. Great. At some point he places a piece of rose quartz in his underwear as part of an alternative method of finding love (because of course love and affection are just glorified versions of pulling women, no?)

I was actually quite incensed when I left. Not only did I feel an hour of my life been wasted, but it had been filled to the rafters with nothing but personified ignorance and poor taste – and that’s without even mentioning the paedophile jokes that lurk in the script as well. The same friend as before asked me my initial impressions – I told her I thought it to be a frankly pathetic excuse of a show; I suggest his next twelve steps involve learning to become a functional and polite member of the 21st century. Even if you ignore the audacity of the material, very few gags hit the mark and, being purely technical, his comedic timing could have done with a watch. Though the technology might be new, there is nothing modern about the opinion: easily the fastest swipe left of the year.

Reviews by Matthew Sedman

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The Blurb

The 12-step comedy quirk fest for love seekers. Join Bentley on his journey from Tinder addiction to awesome discovery, calling at Heartbreak Avenue and Self-Help City. The comic and author of 50 Ways To Find a Husband or Wife delivers attraction techniques, alter egos, music and stupid jokes about relationships. Plus, the secret to staying annoyingly happy... all the time. Rehab can be fun. ‘Bentley is brill’ (Mark Dolan). 'Compelling stage performer’ (David Mullholland). BBC Breakfast, The One Show and Russell Howard's Good News featured his workshops. Bentley's appeared on ITV and Channel 4 as David Cameron and Rev Rupert Williams.