Love, Virtually (Working Title Artists Company) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review

There was a time when online dating carried a real social stigma. After all, people who needed to find dates on the Internet were obviously too socially inept to meet people the “normal” way. With the proliferation of social media that stigma has greatly diminished, as meeting people online has become the “normal” way of meeting new people.

Of course, the convenience of online dating comes with drawbacks, people tend to exaggerate or misrepresent themselves on their profiles and since it’s so easy and accessible, people tend to treat online dating sites as a place to “catalogue shop” for a potential partner.

Love, Virtually is a romantic comedy that explores the world of online dating and what it means to look for love and connection in the information age but it also explores the broader idea that we all create aspirational versions of ourselves in our online identities. Not only do we tend to exaggerate and bend the truth to make ourselves look better on sites like Plenty of Fish and OKCupid we also do the same on our Facebook and LinkedIn profiles.

The plot follows the dating misadventures of Lauren, a woman in her early 30s whose friends set her up on a series of dates with guys from online dating sites.

Chloë Whitehorn’s script is choc full of pithy observations and topical humour about online dating. Some of the funniest moments come when actors line up on stage as real-life versions of dating site archetypes; the nerd, the outdoor enthusiast, the jock and the suave cultural sophisticate.

While the show has the light, airy feel of a rom-com, it’s also surprisingly layered. I was pleasantly surprised at the level of depth and character development as well as the way the show explores deeper themes like coming to terms with loss in a really insightful way.

I also really enjoy the way live music is organically integrated into the show, the show features musicians on stage providing a background score during scene changes, the main character is a singer and several performers also sing and play instruments.

Oh, and patrons are also offered a free iced coffee upon arrival at the theatre. The show is set in a coffee shop and it’s mentioned in the play that cafés have become the de-facto meeting place for a safe, no-obligation first date. Offering audience members a free drink is a clever tie-in to the show.

Details:

Working Title Artists Company

In association with The Toronto Fringe Festival presents

Love, Virtually

July 6th runs to July 17th

Venue #1: Tarragon Theatre Mainstage (30 Bridgeman Ave.)

Performances:

Wed. July 6 10:30pm

Sat. July 9 5:15pm

Mon. July 11 8:00pm

Tues. July 12 3:00pm

Thurs. July 12 12:00pm

Fri. July 15 8:45pm

Sun. July 17 5:15pm

 

Ticket Price: $10.00

Tickets: www.fringetoronto.com / (416) 966-1062

Advance Ticket Box Office at the Randolph Centre, 736 Bathurst St.

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