The Dating Diary

"You know when you want to be friends with the entire cast that you’ve witnessed a great show!"

The Dating diary is all about Amelia’s struggle to find love, showcasing the best and worst parts of dating as a millennial. This hilariously relatable comedy kept us laughing and nodding along from start to finish.

At the beginning of the play we were introduced to Amelia’s living room with a bright red sofa, a table, a mirror and a scattering of props. The simplicity of the scenery and staging added to the relatability of the piece in the sense that you genuinely feel you’re at a friend’s house. I enjoyed the lack of glitz and glamour as it accentuates the normality. In the first scene we meet unlucky-in-love Amelia (Melissa Amer) and encouraging best friend and TikTok Influencer Laura (Shanika Ocean). The girls immediately set the jovial tone with their quick-humour and adorable friendship. 

Later on we were taken to the local pub where we met the rest of the cast; friends Kyle Payne (Taylor Pope), Richard ‘Crush’ (Scott Henderson), and his brother Ronnie (Ryan Downey). I enjoyed the fact that the bar area bordered on being part of the audience as I felt this achieved more of an immersive experience for the viewer. They used the limited space well, including the audience and enabling us to get in on the action.

In The Dating Diary each character had a completely different personality and shone in their own way. Amelia’s Bridget Jones meets Daisy May Cooper mannerisms were understandably chuckle-inducing. Whilst Laura’s sweet and loyal disposition balanced her vain obsession with making videos for social media. 

Kyle’s outright obnoxious, unpalatable demeanour and incessant offensive remarks gave us the villain we took pleasure in disliking. He was the walking definition of toxic masculinity, sexism, male chauvinism and egocentrism - so obviously a very fun, albeit uncomfortable, character to watch!

Richard/Crush is what I could only describe as a dim-witted lovechild of Rodney from Only Fools and Horses and Neil from The Inbetweeners. We were treated to a character as dumb as they come (with surprisingly intellectual and brave outbursts) which simply made him all the more lovable. 

Ronnie’s charming vulnerability and unapologetic dance moves gave us the opportunity to see a stark contrast between the male figures. 

Adding the bored barmaid (Cara Bo) into the mix, you can imagine the weirdly wonderful onstage concoction. Watching with us as all the drama unfurled, she was clearly left wondering what millennial zoo she had accidentally wandered into!

I thoroughly enjoyed the witty script of this touring play, especially the unexpected twists and turns. My favourite line (in reply to ‘How do I look?’) was ‘You look like a cheesestring’ as well as another memorable moment of the two newly-in-love couple belting The Backstreet Boys together.

The text incorporated good use of reoccurring themes, for both comic effect and also to drum home the important message of the various invisible disorders one can have. Some serious topics that were highlighted in The Dating Diary included ADHD, PTSD, social anxiety as well as other difficult issues such as toxic masculinity, societal pressures and social media addiction. The (2 hour) piece cleverly showcased the difficult situations and human absurdities that we face daily, all whilst making us laugh out loud. The combination of light and shade, serious and silly parts truly made for a great watch! 

Each actor delivered terrific characterisation with their verbal tug of war dynamics. At points they all took turns in being my favourite character, which is credit to the great script and also the conviction of the actors.  The diction could have been better to enable us to hear every word, especially as no microphones were used. Perhaps upgrading to a functional bar for the interval could be a fun idea, maybe even keeping in theme and selling chocolate muffins - although on reflection, seeing Kyle spit half out when talking to Amelia, then eating the rest from the stage floor has definitely put me off them for a while!

All in all I spent 2 hours becoming totally invested in 5 characters lives and forgetting the outside world - which is exactly what theatre is about. This show had rapping, epic dance moves, heart warming relationships and a punch up, which incidentally compounded to form a knockout performance!

You know when you want to be friends with the entire cast that you’ve witnessed a great show!

This show was reviewed on the 25th October 2023.  The Dating Diary runs at The Bread & Roses Theatre, Clapham until the 28th October 2023.  Tickets available here: What's On - The Bread & Roses Theatre (breadandrosestheatre.co.uk)

Review written by Jasmine Alice

AD/Gifted

Photo credit: Promotional Photo's used & Jasmine Alice

We need your consent to load the translations

We use a third-party service to translate the website content that may collect data about your activity. Please review the details and accept the service to view the translations.