Review: The Dead Tinder Society is a hoot, hooks deep into dating a fun and entertaining play

What: The Dead Tinder Society- by Ashleigh Harvey
When: March 9-19, 2022
Where: Theatre on the Bay, Cape Town
Director: Lesedi Job
Performers: Sharon Spiegel-Wagner and Litha Bam

Booking link:
Promotional video link:
Running time:  80 mins, no interval
Age restriction:  PG – contains colourful language and adult themes

Producer: VR Theatrical    

I loved watching the two hander, The Dead Tinder Society, at Theatre on the Bay in Cape Town. Ashleigh Harvey’s script is dripping with deliciousness. Best friends, Jodie (Sharon Spiegel-Wagner) and Ray (Litha Bam) have hopped onto Tinder, to try and find an ideal match. In their 30s, dating is another ball game or should we say hook game.  This play draws on the format of stand-up comedy with a spectacular opening set by Spiegel-Wagner, relating how Jodie’s divorce materialised. It is hilarious. Spiegel-Wagner’s facial expressions, gestures and intonation are brilliant as she relates the end of Jodie’s marriage and her descent into singledom.  Litha Bam provides a fabulous foil for Jodie’s unbridled take on her life. Bam is big star of TV series (Home Affairs, Intersexions, 7de Laan and Scandal) and it is wonderful to see this actor back on stage. He oozes charisma which is coupled cleverly against the firebrand delivery of Spiegel-Wagner’s Jodie.

Lesedi Job in the director’s seat, tempers the action and pace between the two protagonists. The sizzle of chemistry between the actors, makes the play appear ‘real. It is as if we are watching two people commiserating about the ups and downs of Tinder, their anxieties about being desirable; there worries about being alone. The play was written before the pandemic and had a run in Joburg but this is its first outing in Cape Town. It was commissioned in 2019 by VR Theatrical as part of its initiative to develop new voices and “create a platform for aspiring new creative teams to showcase home-grown work.” For this 2022 staging, the script has been updated with a sprinkle of contemporary references. Spoiler alert – skip the rest of this paragraph- if you don’t want to know: There is a swipe at the Tinder Swindler – the con-man who has apparently duped women on Tinder – and who has been made famous on a Netflix documentary. There is also mention of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This is very much within the format of stand-up comedy shows, where comedians, toss in allusions to life as it happens but the structure and script of their show, stays essentially the same.

The Dead Tinder Society is centered around two thirty-somethings but the content is very much out there and twenty-somethings are bound to be hooked in by what sprouts from the mouth of the fabulous Jodie. Yeah, I use the hook word again. When you see the play, you will know, why I say I was hooked in. After watching on Thursday night, a group of stood outside the theatre, googling away, uhhm, researching some of the tidbits which come up in the script. It is not only a funny and entertaining play but it is an educational experience. Well, it was for our group. One person who has recently re-entered the dating game was intrigued. She sent me a tutorial to explain further what we had seen on stage. Good to know and not cheap to acquire. The play is terrific fun. We had fun afterwards, doubled up with laughter. The Dead Tinder Society comes across as ‘normal’. It is not a pandemic play. It is not a post-pandemic play about re-entering dating. It is a play, bundled with poignancy- finding a significant other – and navigating that process online. The production design is stylish and uncluttered. The narrative zips in full thrust with an ending which is left wonderfully ambiguous. Go and see The Dead Tinder Society. It is a tonic and upper of a show.

Hilarious: Sharon Spiegel-Wagner and Litha Bam in The Dead Tinder Society, which is on at Theatre on the Bay in Cape Town, from March 9-19, 2022.

✳ Images by Danie Bester, supplied. Related coverage on TheCapeRobyn: