Note: This review is from the 2019 Fringe

Working at a dating app HQ, Algorithms protagonist, Brooke, might seem like someone likely to be coupled up and ‘sorted’. Days before her 30th birthday, though, her life crumbles as her girlfriend breaks up with her and her attempts to move on only seem to end in disaster.

Sadie Clark stars in and writes this one-woman play – a vehicle for both her on-point writing and captivating dramatic skills. She is immediately confident in her performance – crucial for some of the explicit material which is showcased early on in a kitchen orgasm scene. Clark also transitions with ease between accents and impressions and the play is littered with plenty of clever, winning jokes and rom-com references that tickle the audience.

As the narrative progresses from bad date anecdotes and phone calls with a very middle class mother, it becomes quite clear that beneath the confident humour, there is vulnerability and touching honesty here. The play offers comment on social media, sexism, and the societal expectations of romantic relationships. One of Clarke’s key conclusions is that loneliness itself isn’t an inherent problem of singledom. Moreover, it’s the pressure of the myths that we’re sold about how love should work and why relationships must surely follow a certain pattern in order to make us happy.

As the play approaches its final scenes, Clark’s performance reaches new levels of raw emotion and openness, and the 30th birthday celebrations – as organised by Brooke’s mother – allow for a moving, profound, and hilarious climax. Algorithms manages to leave the audience both a little bit heartbroken and optimistically rejuvenated.