★★★★ Binaural Dinner Date at Theatre Royal Stratford East
16 November – 3 December | Times Vary | £10
‘What’s the worst that could happen?’
Leading immersive and digital theatre masters ZU-UK, in their latest production ‘Binaural Dinner Date’, ask ethereal questions about whether or not unconditional love exists and if it is indeed possible to fall in love during the first date.
This part interactive performance, part dating agency is set inside a fully working Gerry’s Kitchen – just opposite Theatre Royal Stratford East. We are greeted by a vivacious hostess – Persis Jadé Maravala – who has previously collected our dating preferences. She escorts us to tables of two, with headphones ready for every audience member.
The Master of Ceremonies – Will Dickie – is the waiter, who subtly leads a sixty minute dating experience with various obscure and delightful games and scenarios. The way the play is constructed – with visual perspective as well as audio track – is sporadically powerful, but fails to deliver in the instance of malfunctioning technology, which in my case manifested as a minute of silenced headphones, and could potentially distract and remove the focus out of the dating partner.
As a whole the concept is technically brilliant and makes you wonder if we should lower our expectations when it comes to the game of dating. The show beautifully restores ones faith in humanity in the small occurrences when your dating partner undertakes small unconditional acts contributing to your feelings of being, if not loved, then at least a worthwhile person. Theatre at this scale can shake you to the bone – hardly ever have I been as nervous to see a show, nor can I remember leaving the theatre feeling so full of joy.
Mikko Rautiainen is a performer and journalist who regularly writes about theatre and food for various, international platforms.