Ian Hallard’s debut play Adventurous finds a gently comic soul in its exploration of middle-aged online pandemic dating
“Is it because I said lesbian?”
In some ways, Adventurous isn’t adventurous at all. It feels like we’re destined to watch the same jokes about being muted on Zoom in in every online show and the perils of dating online are hardly fresh fodder either. But what Ian Hallard’s debut play does have, is an abundance of heart and a gently comic spirit that makes it shimmer anew.
Ros is emerging back into life after years as an unpaid carer, Richard is reeling from a divorce and both are preparing to dip a toe back into the dating pool by signing up to an agency. And as they match and meet over a hesitant first date on Zoom, we follow the baby steps of their developing connection over the following months, even to a Tier 2 IRL meet.
Directed by Khadifa Wong and filmed in lockdown, there’s something deliciously wry about the way in which Hallard and Sara Crowe negotiate the twists and turns of getting to know someone online whilst not giving away too much about yourself. The play is frequently chuckle-out-loud funny, particularly where Ros’ forays into uncovering what Richard’s ex-wife was like, and achieves a highly satisfying arc over the hour of its running time.