I’m a nineties baby. And by that, I mean I was born in the ‘90s. 1997, to be exact. So I didn’t grow up properly in the era of the Spice Girls and dial-up Internet, but I did have a whole three shelves full of Beanie Babies (tags kept on) and I have been to various ‘90s nights, so I do feel a certain identification with the decade of girl power, grunge, and glittery hair mascara.
Swipe Right Theatre’s fun hour-long frolic 2 Become 1 is a nostalgic look back at the dating world of the ’90s, featuring female characters who each embody a girl-group stereotype: the sexy one, the dim one, the outgoing one, and the girl-next-door. Each of them has their own distinct style – from fringing to pinafores, all complete with platform shoes – and all of them are incredibly funny women. The show sees the girls on a round of speed dates in an attempt to cheer up heartbroken Jess (Natasha Granger), who has recently been broken up with.
The show is filled with classic ’90s pop songs, including, but not limited to ‘That Don’t Impress Me Much’, ‘Crazy’, and ‘Genie in a Bottle’. Personal favourites of mine included a toilet-set ‘No Scrub’s, complete with singing into bog brushes, and Mandy (Jessica Brady’s) ‘My Heart Will Go On’, where she dragged a poor boy on stage to be the Jack to her Rose. The cast are energetic and really throw themselves into the dance routines, which include a lot of thrusting.
References to the era fill the show, and there’s a sense of awareness looking back at everything we felt sure of. “We were like Brad Pitt and Jen Anniston”, wails Jess, “destined to be forever”. Of course, twenty years on we now know they weren’t. It’s the same with Mollie (Kerrie Thomason), who believes that internet dating just “won’t catch on”…how wrong she was. Now we just swipe left and right based on a single picture. I loved the use of male voice overs in between some scenes, talking about what they wanted in a woman. It was all incredibly sexist and elicited groans from members of the audience. It also served to perhaps prod at the fact nothing much has really changed in some people’s attitudes, and that the very marketable ‘girl power’ doesn’t have to stay in the ’90s. Jess’s screams of “I HATE COSMO [magazine]” ring a chord with me, and I’m glad there’s that little bit of skepticism over the publication present.
Each of the four women are hilarious, from their facial expressions to the delivery. Though sometimes very over-the-top and loud, it’s not an issue. It’s not supposed to be a deep piece of theatre, but a musical comedy full of laughs. It certainly got everyone up dancing and clapping, and is the perfect show to see if you want to hear all of those ’90s classics and see some top-notch female comedy performances.
This production was created completely by women. From the performers to the tech-box, it was an all-female production. I think this is amazing, and I really support this. The King’s Head Theatre, above the pub of the same name in Islington, is also an independently-run venue, supporting the very best in fringe theatre. It was my first time visiting, and I am sure I’ll be making my way back there.
2 Become 1 runs at the King’s Head Theatre until April 29th. Tickets can be booked here.