Tinder Tales: A New Musical follows the passionate and turbulent dating life of unlucky-in-love Abby (Eadie Testro-Girasole). A Tinder addict, Abby wants to find ‘love at first swipe’ and is constantly on the lookout for the perfect guy. Doubt (Aubrey Flood) and Insecurity (Mel O’Brian) are constant advisors, for better or for worse, on Abby’s every move. Encounters with a myriad of men and a falling out with ‘the beige and sitting guy’ (Yashith Fernando) leads her inner voices, the ensemble, to remind her that ‘dick is dick’ in an uplifting, gospel-like musical number. Abby promptly takes on this advice and sleeps with everyone and anyone she can, only to feel worse than she did to begin with. Finally, an uplifting tune supports the lyrics ‘no-one will ever love you’ and Abby is left disconsolate and spent… until the next ‘super-like’ comes along!
Written by Mattie McLeod with music by Thomas Bradford, Tinder Tales is strikingly relevant and cleverly articulated. It holds central themes of love and explores crippling fears that get in its way. It asks if love is needed or wanted. Is it sometimes just sex that we are craving? These are all familiar questions to a young woman trying to find her place in the dating world. The comedy comes through in the earnestness of the musical numbers with each taking on a new genre. One stand-out example is ‘Romantic Woes’. Following the very pop-like and utterly hilarious opening number about swiping right on Tinder, the audience is taken aback when Abby dons a sexy, red chiffon robe and adopts Gloria Gaynor-esque vibes as she recounts her romantic tragedies. Melodramatic movements and the facial expressions of the ensemble, highlights being those between Tash Jenkins and Callum Warrender, are self-aware and uninhibited. As Abby, Testro-Girasole is constantly surprising and captivating. Confusion, desolation, excitement, hope and sexiness were evidently a constant juggle for Abby, proving the complex and humane qualities Testro-Girasole achieves in her performance.
Sets, lights and sound were simple and effective. When the house lights were dimmed, fairy lights placed throughout created an effortlessly intimate feel. Most notably, the use of a fold-up screen allows the cast to stage a quiz, make a change room and explore more raunchy and suggestive sex. The only downfall of this prop was that its default position was in front of the pianist, who, given the chance could have developed a delicious connection with the audience.
Following a sell-out season at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, we can only hope that the success of this new work inspires its team to stage it again, perhaps on a larger scale, or to collaborate in the future!
Tinder Tales: A New Australian Musical ran from the 19th-22nd of April at The MC Showroom, as part of the 2018 Melbourne International Comedy Festival.