Note: This review is from the 2019 Fringe

Online dating empowers people world-wide to meet their match with just a few swipes or clicks. Lobster examines all sides of online dating, from the hilarious horror stories, to the pains of rejection. Depending on your experience with online dating, this show either serves as a relatable ordeal or as a way to understand the struggles of your single friends searching for internet intimacy.

The one-woman show follows Polly, played by Gemma Harvey, who seemingly messed up her previous relationship by making an unnamed “big mistake.” She’s now trying to jump back into the world of dating, and puts up her dating profile across the full gambit of social media dating sites. Slickly using a projector, you follow along with her as she sends and receives messages. Although some people she courts seem friendly, a fair few of them send, let’s say, concerning, pictures and messages. Whilst, this does provide some humour, the performance does well to remind us that these are human beings receiving these graphic messages.

Over the course of the 50 minute show, brief inner monologues haunt Polly, reminding her that she is aging, alone, and her biological clock ticks ever louder. The story’s progression also pauses at one point to examine the emotional impact of “ghosting” and the violation of trust through “stealthing.” These interjections, although taking you out of the main narrative, provide the needed context to the emotional impact of rejection and abuse through dating apps ease of access to partners.

Harvey gives a strong and genuine performance as she plays various different characters and the script asks her to be sad, awkward, sexy, and overly anxious.  The authenticity of her character acting, allows the more important and poignant messages of the show to really stand out from a mostly fun-loving production. Most importantly, the show seeks not to glorify online dating, but rather to provides  deeper examination into the downfalls of the choice, and the numbing feeling of soullessly swiping through real humans.