Reviews/Fringe World Festival/Theatre

Modern mating mores

28 January 2020

David Zampatti says Onstage Dating is a hilarious and sometimes slightly sad swipe right.

Review: Bron Batten, Onstage Dating ·
The Shambles at the Pleasure Garden, 27 January 2020 ·
Review by David Zampatti ·

Bron Batten is a dating machine.

The Melbourne comedian has swiped right more than 60 times, depending on her level of inebriation and horniness, and the proximity of the object of her intentions. And it’s all in the name of research, she claims, for her multi award-winning one-woman show, Onstage Dating.

The result is an engaging and sometimes teeny bit sad look at modern mating mores – and an always cleverly wrangled and often gobsmacking masterclass in the art of audience participation.

The participant on Monday night – he’s signed a little form at the entrance saying he’s up for it – is a 35-year-old recently married accountant we’ll call Ryan, because I’m sure he won’t mind me using his real name. Ryan has a nice comic touch of his own and an indulgent spouse (or “soon-to-be-ex wife” as things get more heated on stage), and they give Batten a solid platform for some great material, from the lugubrious fate of the male of one species of grouper (the details are too grisly for sensitive readers like you) to the poor old common-or-garden bee.

Then there are details of weird customs involving men with swords and women with cloth sheaths, and (spoiler alert) this thing with slices of apple and underarms.

Through all this, Bron and Ryan drink, play Twister, remove clothing and get to know each other better. At one stage, Bron enlists the aid of another audience member – let’s call her Georgie – who turns out to be a midwife. And so, hilariously, on.

Maybe Bron Batten got lucky on Monday night with Ryan, his soon-to-be-ex-wife and Georgie, but I don’t think so. I just think she’s a very funny, very clever performer who makes her own luck, and whose show you should go and see.

Onstage Dating runs until 2 February 2020 at the Shambles in the Pleasure Garden, and then until 16 February at The Library at Girls’ School

Pictured top: Bron Batten twists herself around another ‘date’ in ‘Onstage Dating’. Photo: Theresa Harrison

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Author —
David Zampatti

David Zampatti has been a student politician, a band manager, the Freo Dockers’ events guy, a bar owner in California, The West Australian’s theatre critic and lots of other crazy stuff. He goes to every show he’s reviewing with the confident expectation it will be the best thing he’s ever seen.

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