Rob Drummond and his wife Lucy are celebrating their fifteenth anniversary. As a gift to her, he made a show where two single audience members have the opportunity to go on a first date there and then in the hope of finding the sort of love he has with Lucy. Though the bulk of the production centres around the selected couple on stage, there is plenty of audience interaction as we guide them down the path of getting to know each other. Part TED talk, part talk show, part slumber party, In Fidelity is as informative as it is heartwarming and fun.
Drummond’s extensive research on brain activity, hormones and psychology drives the framework around the first date and is consistently present throughout the show. The pop-science is easy to understand and his presentation style makes this content all the more engaging. After a series of questions he selects the two audience members who will have their first date, the focus becomes on facilitating the introduction of these two people. Each performance will undoubtedly be different and have varying degrees of successful matchmaking, but this makes it all the more exciting.
There’s a gleeful voyeurism that In Fidelity satisfies and even though Drummond gives the audience and the pair on their date quite a lot of freedom, he keeps a tight grip on discussion and interaction so it never feels that he will lose control of the show’s progression. This restriction ensures that everyone in the room feels safe, and its remarkable how quickly people feel comfortable answering very personal questions about their love life. Drummond’s onstage persona is warm and strong, a great balance that encourages the audience to open up. His incorporation of personal anecdotes, adventures in the research process and his own relationship’s journey also help.
The show ends happily the day I see it, with the couple clearly having some degree of chemistry between them. Even if that doesn’t happen, Drummond ends with some fantastic news of his own, leaving the audience with a warm, fuzzy feeling as they leave the theatre. This theatrical experiment is a wonderful exploration of form and its benevolence is a wonderful thing to be a part of.
In Fidelity ends 28th August.
The Play’s the Thing UK is committed to covering fringe and progressive theatre in London and beyond. It is run entirely voluntarily and needs regular support to ensure its survival. For more information and to help The Play’s the Thing UK provide coverage of the theatre that needs reviews the most, visit its patreon.