A deluge of social media, hook up apps, dating profiles, memes and Tik Tok videos assault the audience as we enter the theatre. There, sitting in the midst of it, is Viv – overcome by the barrage of information on the phone in her hand. No wonder she’s anxious.
When the flood of information subsides, we meet her living in Prahran, standing on a balcony, having a drink, her cat beside her and her long-term boyfriend shouting at the footy on the television inside. She’s watching the sunset but she’s feeling overwhelmed by the moment. Boyfriend, footy, cat, drink, sunset. Footy, boyfriend, drink, sunset, cat.
She breaks up with him. He’s not the one. Will she ever find the one that Disney cartoons promised her? We are told there a lot of fish in the sea, but as one of the Tik Tok videos points out at the top of the show – the sea is full of garbage.
Vivian Nguyen’s one-woman show dissects the modern dating experience – in a confronting, powerful and insightful way. Yes, there are dates with oddball men and misunderstandings about who is looking for what, but a moment to love uncovers one woman’s specific experiences and the kind of cold love that has seeped into her bones from childhood.
Early on, the play felt like it might have been re-treading old ground but it builds on our expectations and then starts to undercut them. How much of her past will inform her future? How can a trail of broken relationships lead to something healthier?
Director Alanah Guiry keeps the show tight and running at pace, keeping us in Viv’s head every step of the way.
Nguyen’s performance was slightly stilted to begin with but as the text starts to get more layered and complex, she switches between scenes and characters seamlessly – and she has the audience in her hand for the rest of the show.
Dating is full of cliches and a moment to love embraces some of the most embarrassing things about meeting people in 2022 and reminds us there’s worse things than feeling foolish. And no wonder it’s so hard to find love when your entire history is playing on your mind for every moment of every date.
- Keith Gow, Theatre First