Memoirs of a Serial Dater

Graham Street Theatre, 24 Graham St, CBD, Auckland

10/03/2011 - 12/03/2011

Auckland Fringe 2011

Production Details

Desperate, dateless, and over the age of 25? Wondering how to meet the love of your life, or at least the lay of your life? Feel like telling Bridget Jones and Ms Carrie Bradshaw to get f@#$%d?

Enter status obsessed, camp celebrity-wannabe Carl Maitland, a self-proclaimed dating guru charged with the mission of educating the online society via his brand new webisode series on the ‘ins and outs’ of dating for the modern day.

Carl’s goal is quantity not quality, and his fundamental start-up pack for any dating punter is an internet connection, a well doctored profile picture, and a smart phone offering fibre-optic access to potential lovers all day and all night.

Carl and his best friend / flat mate Charlie Jane Jones – a difficult loner who struggles to conform to societal norms, though mostly just for kicks – are thrown together into a big brother-style scandal when their independent battles for the recognition of their employer turns friend to foe as hidden agendas erupt in an internet assisted stalk-off. 

Witness moments of ultimate cringe in this hilarious, fast paced theatrical and multimedia mash up that will leave even the hardiest of audience members cringing, and ‘singles’ both past and present, howling in recognition.

Writer / performers Malcolm Clarke and Janelle Bish met while working on the production of the primetime animated series Bro’Town, and now combine theatrical and multimedia forces to present a rampant modern day ‘romp’ for the masses that educates the audience about the perils of singledom and the invasion of technology in the modern world.

The journey of these two awkwardly fascinating characters was conceived through real life experience of the writer/performers Janelle Bish and Malcolm Clarke. Both creative minds individually, together they make a powerful and innovative team by weaving a multitude of experience in both stage and screen into a comedic hour of observational comedy that questions the value of technology and examines the unique relationship shared by a gay man and a straight woman.

Memoirs of a Serial Daterperforms a three night season at the
‘Graham Street Theatre’, created just for Fringe,
from Thurs 10 – Sat 12 March 2011,
starting at 8pm with doors at 7.30pm,
and running for approx 1 hr in duration.

Tickets through iticket –  

Only two characters well defined

Review by Venus Stephens 11th Mar 2011

With a sizeable cast of eight in varying stages of their theatre careers, Memoirs of a Serial Dater has a wealth of talent I am anxious to see stretch their theatre smarts.

Unfortunately, on this occasion I only find palatable performances from the writer / actors who play the lead characters: Malcolm Clarke who plays Carl Maitland; Janelle Bish who plays Charlie Jane Jones. They have nurtured their characters to a sinful ripeness. 

Carl – fork-tongued, flamboyant, confidently gay – is on a quest to find love online. Charlie – boozy, brash barista babe – is … well, she’s up for anything. 

Dialogue swapped between the two is visceral and funny; tidbits of this banter filter down amongst the extended character base. Unfortunately, witty banter alone does nothing to give the story’s remaining characters definition in their roles.

The storyline has pockets of clear cohesion and troughs of misalignment. If the creative crispness applied to the video and social media components of the production were afforded to the lesser ‘seen’ characters’ development, Memoirs of a Serial Dater could prosper.  

While great personality and colour has been written into the characters Carl and Charlie, minimal shading is given to the ‘stepping stone’ characters: Gym Guy/Dance Man (Felix Schaefer), Dickson Turner (Gerald Urquhart), Maggot/Fuggs (Jordan Blaikie), Barman (Karlos Wrennall), Dream Guy (Joshua Winger) and Panda Girl (Christina Cortesi), whose role is less than a minute long.

All these feeder roles, as brief as they are, require definition to solidify their purpose in the script. Currently they do little more than accentuate Charlie and Carl’s speed dating profiles.

Memoirs of a Serial Dater has a stash of laughs, seedy jokes and entertaining bytes of video and audio. To his credit, Clarke nails his gay persona with great dexterity and humour. Janelle Bish has a feisty presence with kohl dark allure.

I do wish I could commend their fellow cast members for their performances. Alas, not this time; they lack lustre, for the reasons stated above. 

The redeeming feature of the Fringe Festival is that shows can be tried out in safety. I support that community of fostering wholeheartedly. 

This review kindly supported by The James Wallace Arts Trust

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