Mark Ludmon reviews Sadie Clark’s new play Algorithms at Pleasance Courtyard at Edinburgh Fringe
From rom-coms to Instagram and Facebook, we are showered with images of perfect lives that reality can never live up to. In her new solo play Algorithms, Sadie Clark introduces us to a young bisexual woman trying to be herself in a world where everything seems to be saying she’s not good enough.
At 29, Brooke seems to have it all, with a girlfriend, a good job and her 30th birthday party to look forward to. She works for a dating website, specialising in developing the computer algorithms that help users find their perfect match. When she unexpectedly finds herself single, she is confronted with the limitations of compatibility algorithms and the challenges of dating in the digital age. With so many ways to meet someone new, how is it so hard to find a perfect partner?
The writing is sharp and funny, full of smart observations about sex and relationships. It also highlights the impact of social media on how we view ourselves, not just in the realm of dating: the dangers of comparing ourselves to the curated lives we see on social media, the anxieties of being left on “read” on WhatsApp. Brooke is also haunted by the rom-coms that programme us to seek the ideal lover, to yearn like Bridget Jones for our own Mark Darcy.
With direction by Madelaine Moore, Clark brings her own character to life with warmth and humour. She is heart-breaking as Brooke’s life unravels, struggling with a lack of self-worth that comes from pursuing impossible ideals. It is an impressive debut, entertaining and inspiring – even if it simply inspires you to cut back on using social media.
Running to 26 August 2019