Cell, Block Tango is an enthralling 50-minute show about the trials and tribulations of dating in a modern world. If by dating in the modern world we mean dating through our phone screens and how vapid, shallow and hypocritical it can all be. While not the most original of premises (We have been seeing ‘the problems with dating’ as long as there has been theatre) it certainly provides enough material for writer and performer Louise Baxter to put together a highly entertaining show.
There is something truly great about the venue at the Butterfly Club. It is full of bohemian charm and rather than trying to hide away from it the venue leans into its alternative style and is all the better for it. After climbing the summit of stairs past the bar you arrive to a small stage and, in this show, 3 microphones and a piano.
There has always been one thing as a reviewer that I have always struggled with while writing and that is how much do I give away and how much do I leave for the audience. Without screaming spoiler warning before this review, I will only be touching lightly on the content of the show and speak mostly on the quality.
The cast were fantastic with not one of them leaving me wanting. Lelda Kapsis has such an incredibly powerful voice it made me wonder why I hadn’t heard her sing before (and want to hear her again), Louise Baxter plays the role of the awkward girl fantastically and Andrew Iles has an astounding ability to go between comedy and into the more sincere moments seamlessly. The shows writing is fun and quick witted and broken up very well with the song choices. The highlights, the Ensemble singing You gotta have a gimmick and Andrew Iles singing I honestly love you which is a personal favourite and unexpected surprise.
This is also a shout out to the accompanist Isaac Mouskovias, it is always nice to see a show with the music being played on piano live.
So, let me get this out of the way before I end. The show is filled with cliché but that is kind of the point. It is designed for us to all go, ‘oh my god, I have seen that!’ or the lesser ‘Oh my god, I have done that!’. I am looking at you – everyone on Tinder with a picture of you patting a tiger. The sincerity and humour in which it is all delivered is the reason to see the show to begin with. It does not follow a story progression more parts of a whole picture that make up the whole dating scene rather than a single-story element trying to bring it all in. It was wonderfully entertaining and well performed, I highly recommend you go see it, especially if you are single and looking for unique place to take your Tinder date. You will relate, I promise.
Review by Jon Krikstolaitis
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