"Not quite a perfect partnership"
by Dominic di Nezza for remotegoat on 22/04/09

Continuing a recent of trend of theatrical double-headers, CandyKing Theatre's 'The Serious Business of Choosing a Mate' presents two short plays on the theme of cherchez la femme (or homme).

The first is Jeremy Green's 'Fairytale', in which an archetypal lost princess (Emma West) pines for the embrace of the prince of her dreams, only to be hugely disappointed when a modern-day soldier (Brett Harris) bursts in to disrupt her reverie.

What follows is somewhere between an over-developed sketch and an undercooked satire, touching on all manner of subjects, including the princess's own romantic ideals, the realities of contemporary soldiering and, bizarrely, (with the entrance of Alexander d'Andrea as the genuine prince Barabas) Scientology.

The performances are spirited and hearty, getting some healthy and well-earned laughs, but overall it's a little difficult to know how to take 'Fairytale' as it doesn't seem to have worked out what it wants to be. It could be effective as a knockabout comedy or a much darker piece, but at the moment it's ambition is hamstrung by it's lack of focus.

'The Proposal' is based on a Chekov short story, which follows the attempts Ivan Vassilevitch (Brett Harris) to propose to the daughter of Stepan Stepanovitch (Donal Cox). Social barriers frustrate Ivan at every turn, building into farce as both he, his prospective wife (Emma West) and her father grow more apoplectic at the misunderstandings that arise.

Once again the performances are heroic, Cox and Harris working particularly hard to build the mayhem, but the direction is uninspired, relying on one-note hysteria for the majority of the scene, which quickly becomes tiresome. Also, despite Harris' efforts, it's hard to see exactly how his pompous, hypochondriac Ivan could be considered an attractive suitor.

Despite its' best intentions, 'The Serious Business of Choosing a Mate', feels more like speed-dating than a match made in heaven.

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