A comic education in modern dating
By Narelle Wood
What is not to love about the combination of a Fosse style cabaret, bad pick-up lines and terrible tales from the dating scene? Cell, Block Tango: Show Tunes on Modern Dating provides an uncomfortably accurate and therefore very funny perspective of what it is like to be immersed in the modern, singles scene.
The show is a combination of show tunes, from the likes of Cabaret, Sweet Charity and Chicago: it’s a little disturbing how well some of these tunes, for example Mr Cellophane, seem to capture the experiences of the dating world. Scattered amongst the reworked and reworded tunes are anecdotes exploring everything from the do’s and don’ts of creating a Tinder profile, negotiating the perils of the first date, and of course the feelings of hope of having finally found ‘the one’ and the soul-crushing disappointment of having let ‘the one’ go. It’s a modern tale, so there are references to ghosting, unsolicited pics, and ways emojis are used for sexual innuendo. It was obvious from the laughter that this was familiar territory for most of the audience.
There were some small instances of first night nerves from Lelda Kapsis, Andrew Iles and Louise Baxter, but that aside the cast had chemistry, strong voices and delivered their monologues with conviction. A couple of times it was a little hard to hear due to some varying microphone heights, but this is being really nitpicky.
I was worried when I sat down and we were invited to share some bad dating and pick-up line stories that the show was going to be interactive: this always makes me very uncomfortable. But the cast were both respectful of people declining the invitation and of people’s personal anecdotes. No one was harassed, embarrassed or singled out.
This show is a perfect combination of the satirical style of something like The Office and cabaret. Regardless of whether you are single, in a loved-up couple, or have an alternative romantic arrangement, Cell, Block Tango: Show Tunes on Modern Dating is guaranteed to either provide some good laughs or at the very least an education. Although I’m not sure it would be suitable for a first date – the humour maybe based on a reality a little too close to home – it’s definitely worth the night out, and I certainly left still chuckling.
Dates: 16 – 21 January
Venue: The Butterfly Club, Carson Place, Off Little Collins Street, Melbourne
Prices: $26 – $32