Who said speed dating has died? Not Kiss Chase at The Bunker, where Second Circle proves that it’s still possible to meet people face to face and have a genuine connection. That’s the aim at least. Set up as a traditional speed dating session, the audience moves from person to person, regardless of gender. Then different ‘games’ or tasks are setup by two ‘MC’s’ to get to know the person in front of you (see selfie), with actors amongst them sharing verbatim stories about different relationships in their lives and their choices in those relationships.
Having no idea what the show is about, you would get a bit shocked when you realise what you have signed up for. When you realise, you look around at everyone around you to see who you’re gonna have to match up with and who you might connect with -especially if you’re single. The intention behind it is not to meet the love of your life; although if you do – great! It’s more about creating connections with humans in a very vibrant, and often lonely metropolitan. Which is needed, as it can often be difficult to meet people, especially of the opposite gender without underlying intentions. You get a clipboard where you can note down whether you want to stay in touch with one of your matches and the company will set it up.
As part of The Bunkers Breaking Out festival, which is all about new and emerging theatre, Kiss Chase is a project by Hannah Samuels. Although there are actors in it sharing stories, it isn’t as much a performance as an experience. It does allow people to share their experiences, as they feel more comfortable because actors already have. It happens as a pause in the speed dating event, a black out and a spotlight, and then the event continues as nothing happened. Which is funny, but almost a shame as that is the most emotionally charged part of the show and it should be acknowledged. And even though they were acting, some of them got very emotional, even after the show. There are moments of meta-theatre as the MC Jimmy’s ‘dad’ walks in late and explores the back story of him and Jimmy’s mum’s relationship, but again, minimal.
Hannah Samuels writes for Second Circle Theatre and they have previously created ‘Meeting at 33’, who got outstanding reviews at The Pleasance at the Fringe Festival. Kiss Chase is a brilliant and necessary idea in our busy, big city lives. Unfortunately it feels a bit rushed at times, as you are expected to connect with the person in front of you in just a minute or two under very structured conditions. It is a fun and different night out, alone or with a friend/partner, but it is not easy to rate it as a piece of theatre as the acting was minimal.