BlackCatfishMusketeer @ Summerhall
BlackCatfishMusketeer is a clever, funny, and poignant look at online dating
Unlike the last person you matched with on Tinder, Malaprop Theatre’s new play has it all: charm, wit, sensitivity, and a mature but humorous outlook on the complicated dynamics of online dating. Three performers dramatise the ups-and-downs of the search for that one special person, and demonstrate how, when it comes to finding love, the internet is both your best friend and your worst enemy.
BlackCatfishMusketeer follows the fortunes of two lonely hearts who meet online and hit it off with the help of gifs, emojis, and dense Wikipedia articles. But what initially promises to be an electrifying meeting of minds quickly succumbs to misunderstandings, ambiguities, and self-destructive impulses. The script is dazzlingly witty, and the performers should be commended for their infectious energy and expertly-judged comic timing that has the audience in stitches within seconds of the play opening. The internet is itself personified and played as a quirky, manic, and only slightly sadistic individual, who gives an irresistible “wink-wink-nudge-nudge” feel to the play as the story progresses between our two heroes.
Despite its light-hearted approach, however, the play does not shy away from the emotional vulnerability inherent in offering yourself up to the cyber-dating pool. It also draws attention to the gender politics of online dating, and the very real safety fears that women must grapple with in this environment. The result is a self-aware and socially responsible comedy that manages to deal with loaded contemporary issues in a way that is clever, funny, and poignant. BlackCatfishMusketeer is a stand-out performance from Summerhall’s impressive programme this year.