A nice watch however relies on crude humour
Warning spoilers ahead!
The Bad Daters was the first show I chose to review at the Fringe, I joined the queue of this sold out production having high hopes as a dark romantic comedy sounded interesting but perhaps difficult to pull off. After chatting to a lovely American couple in the queue, we took our seats and I looked out at the stage adorned with two ottomans; eagerly waiting to meet the characters, Wendy (Sarah Maria Lafferty) and Liam (Brian Gallagher) as they reluctantly embarked on dating in the real world after meeting online.
Wendy appears as a harsh, sceptical character who feels she can never be too careful, she comes to their first meeting prepared with mace pepper spray, multiple rape whistles and even jokes about having a gun. Her strict, borderline germaphobe character contrasts her date Liam, who is an agreeable, people pleaser who also speaks German.
The dark humour is hard to miss as when Liam explains his wife killed herself and left him a note telling him to “make an effort Liam”, Wendy can only scoff and deliver a quick quip about maybe he just wasn’t interesting enough.
We follow their relationship as it blossoms, from him writing her a letter to going for dinner and even sleeping together, before he proposes in the final act. However, her acceptance of the offer because she feels he’d be a great husband as he’d be too worried she’d kill herself, does beg the question of how much romance is actually existing here?
Sarah Maria Lafferty carries the show with her delivery of the cynical Wendy, her lines, especially with the use of the f word felt as if it was almost natural to her. Brian Gallagher as Liam felt more like someone who it would be nice to be friends with however, I did feel his character lacked depth, even when he mentioned his wife it was sad but I didn’t feel compelled to properly care.
The show overall was a nice watch, it felt fairly light-hearted despite the dark humour, although the time jumps in their relationship felt a bit disjointed at times, however it did allow the show to have a satisfying ending as we see the result of all their meetings- a proposal. I would say the script, while Wendy’s lines kept it fairly fast-paced, once her character broke her cover and started swearing, some of the humour relied on that and it painted her to be particularly outrageous. That being said, if you’re looking for a humorous romantic comedy and you don’t mind a bit of swearing, I would recommend it.
You can catch the Bad Daters at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival until the 26th August