- Liam Hainey
- 16 August 2018
This article is from 2018
Getting it on in real time
Opening with Bron Batten, whose love life the show is concerned with, dressed as neon-peacock, strutting and grinding her way through the audience, the nature of Onstage Dating is clear from the start.
After such a sexually charged high-octane curtain raiser, Batten moves to prosaic anecdotes about her lack of success in the dating pool. This prepared segment doesn't play to Batten's strengths as a performer: the jokes are amusing but they've been told by comics at every Fringe since the dawn of Tinder.
It's when improvising that Batton begins to sparkle. The bulk of the show takes the form of a date with a volunteer member of the audience. Building a performance around audience participation is a risky endeavor but Batten has the speed of wit and charm to pull it off. Her rapport with her date puts him at ease and ensures his obvious nerves don't stall the pace of the show too often. She clearly isn't ignorant to the fact that the situation is fundamentally an awkward one – but that is woven into her comedy.
The cringe factor occasionally spikes to the point of being simply uncomfortable, but Batten's apparent earnestness is enough to keep the hour breezy. She harness the awkwardness and uses it to drive performance forward, creating a show that feels like the lovechild of Dinner Date and The Office.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 26 Aug, 9.20pm, £10–£11 (£9–£10).