Grindr: The Opera ★★★★★ Union Theatre | May 25 - Jul 8, 2023

Currently there's a lot of hand wringing about how social media is changing society. This very funny and insightful show looks at how the notorious gay dating app, Grindr, both empowers its users and expands their horizons, while simultaneously reducing them to profiles and their interactions to transactions. The Grindr experience offers the possibility of exploring a spectrum of desire, but its cost may be a loss of emotional intimacy or an unwillingness to work at building a relationship. There's lots to ponder here, but all of it is wrapped up in a wonderful parodic package. Mainly this evening is about having a good time, and it's bound to have you laughing out loud. Erik Ransom's score has lots of hilarious musical references, from childhood favourites like "We're Going on a Bear Hunt" to the Village People's "Y.M.C.A." And, there's even a nod to Gilbert and Sullivan. Ransom's lyrics are a clever mixture of the reflective and the raunchy and will probably be even more rewarding on re-listening. Overall, the singing is excellent, with particular accolades for Christian Lunn, the Spirit of Grindr. His renditions "Das Lustmotiv" and "Load More Guys" were highlights. As the young doctor, Devon, who is a newbie on the app, Santino Zapico comes across as amusingly earnest and hesitant, while Billy J Vale brings a fine voice to the part of Tom who starts out looking for an NSA hook up and finds somewhat more. James Lowrie is delightfully over the top as the exuberant and uninhibited Jack, and Dereck Walker is horrifically sinister as hypocritical and guilt-ridden Don. Like Grindr itself, this show is provocative and promises a good time. In this case, it certainly delivers!

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Brittain Photography.

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