Forgive me if this review is overly critical. I was pissed when I saw this show because my date flaked. Apparently, 10:30 pm is too late for a show when you have work in the morning. That left me sitting alone during a performance about online dating—not my ideal way to spend a Saturday night, however appropriate.
Online dating promises to make dating easier, and many buy into that promise. One in five relationships begin on the Internet—at least, that's what Match.com says. This show, by CoHo Productions and written by former Portland Mercury managing editor Phil Busse, takes a look at those online relationships that laughably fail.
The actors tell stories of dates gone awry. Our sad-sack protagonist Carl (Nathan Crosby) struts around in his underwear, drinking beer, which is probably what a typical male Match.com user does. He speaks directly to the audience, offering strategy: Lie about your income and your age, and upload a photo of you and a dog. The female perspective is given through intermittent webcam interviews. Synopsis: The guys they meet via the Internet turn out to be losers.
The stories are amusing, but they're not true. Not totally, anyway. They were inspired by Busse's interviews with his friends, and the storytellers are actors. This is theater, after all, but the show's presentation straddles a line between theater and live storytelling that gives it a shot of authenticity that shouldn't exist. I felt like I was sitting across from my friend at happy hour while he told me a hilarious story I knew he completely made up.
Busse, coming from a notably sex-positive paper, has what must be an entire Rolodex of online daters with interesting stories. Hearing their stories from their lips would have been more satisfying.
But the online dating follies are intriguing, and could be rewarding if you're curious. The show could also benefit from a crowded house, so go if you can persuade enough of your friends to see a show at 10:30 pm. Drink before. Don't ask a date.
SEE IT: The Match.com Monologues is at CoHo Theater, 2257 NW Raleigh St., 205-0715, cohoproductions.org. 10:30 pm Fridays-Saturdays through July 21. $10.