Review: ALGORITHMS, Park Theatre

An exploration of the existential dread of Millennials masqueraded as a queer rom-com.

By: Apr. 20, 2024
Review: ALGORITHMS, Park Theatre
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Review: ALGORITHMS, Park Theatre Right on the cusp of the big 30, Brooke finds herself suddenly single. As the algorithm writer of a dating app, can she trust a code to find the best partner for herself? Written and performed by Sadie Clark, Algorithms is described as “A bisexual Bridget Jones for the online generation”. That’s a catchy hook, but the piece is much more. It sums up the Millennial struggle, the tedium of the generation of new adults who grew up thinking Bridget Jones was a fat failure who needed a man to feel accomplished. That woman lived in Zone 1, had a fantastic job, and the body of a Greek goddess. What’s not to love?

Between the contradictions of her age group and the difficulties of navigating a life where everyone is too busy, yet your ex is already moving on, Brooke is crumbling. It’s unfortunately relatable for a large chunk of chronically online public. Directed by Madelaine Moore, the confessional style of her address is permeated by that distinctive flair made popular by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. The quick asides in the form of glances or biting remarks and the quickly available sarcasm make it genuinely and effortlessly funny. But Clark never forgets that her work is a black comedy.

The universal dating experience is spun around to unveil an internet addiction and a dependence on being liked. The constant stream of validation that comes with the ready-made serotonin hit of a match on an app clashes with the reality of the consequences. It isn’t exactly the most original of plots these days, but it’s so layered that it becomes easy to relate to at least one of the critical issues portrayed. Ultimately, it’s a story about the anxious search for one’s identity.

Below the modern queer rom-com, Clark offers a bleak picture of a very real and lifelike Millennial dilemma. Yes, Brooke makes you cringe in your seat quite often in a way only Gen Y do, but she’s aware of it. After all, these are the proud misadventures of a queer snowflake. Her deeply rooted insecurity is the catalyst for all of them. From start to end, Clark succeeds in portraying an overwhelming sense of estrangement.

If there’s one critique that could be thrown at it, is that it could too easily be a radio play. And it is, on Audible. The tall tinsel angel hair and costume changes are mostly inconsequential, but add to the vision. It’s Nicola T. Chang’s soundscape that steals the scene. It lifts the narration, complementing it with ambient effects and music to move the action across different locations. It’s a touching, stirring production aimed at a specific demographic who will absolutely love it.

Algorithms runs at Park Theatre until 11 May.


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