This year, a pleasingly multi-state ensemble from the company FullHouse presents DADDY ALGORITHM. The new play by Australian writer Nicole Plüss, which should be commended just for its illustrative title and offbeat social media campaign, sees “vulnerable singles” Emily (Matilda Boysen) and Nathan (Luke Wiltshire) navigate the fraught world of Match Group-like* dating apps, and grow closer as they share common struggles and disaster dates.

DADDY ALGORITHM was initially conceived during the pandemic as a series of monologues and emerged from researching several communities formed in response to online dating. Director Ellen Wiltshire has since drawn together a vibrant ensemble of local and Sydney-based talent in this interrogation of love within the algorithm.

Playing the various dates are the energetic Chrissy Miller and Rob C Wells, while earnest clowns Dr Edwardo (Toby Blome) and the silent Sevā (Miranda Pike) tend the UNLUCKY bar, listen, and get terribly caught up in the thrill of it all.

It is joyous to observe Pike and Blome witness the unfolding dramas of these awful internet dates with the total vulnerability and honesty that clowning demands. These bar staff seem woefully incapable of listening to their customers’ problems, and this provides a necessary level of silliness to counteract the naturalism of Boysen and Wiltshire’s scenes.

You chose a clown over me, Edward. That hurts

There are some excellent one-liners in this show (see above), and the performers are all suitably tuned to the rhythm and flavour of the writing. Throughout their monologues, Miller and Wells demonstrate their capabilities for physical comedy with aplomb and a touch of gleeful self-aware sexuality. The plot is serviceable, with a third-act twist that one could see coming like rain during monsoon season in Hong Kong, but the heart of this show is in the clowning and sheer energy of the cast.

The show features occasional dance-theatre sequences, but it’s not clear the extent to which their inclusion is intended to be ironic. We are truly in the domain of Gen Z with this production, where all irony is post-, and earnestness is at once elusive and ubiquitous.

DADDY ALGORITHM alludes to more profound questions about the integration of technology and human sexuality – “Does sex happen between two people or is it all in our heads?” and “What bits of ourselves do we delete and emphasise when we create dating profiles?” – yet it resists interrogating these too deeply in favour of light-hearted comedy. Perhaps, though, a riskier exploration of these themes would turn it into an episode of Black Mirror.

This is nonetheless an enjoyable hour of relatable comedy that showcases some promising emerging talent. It’s worth seeing if you’ve ever had one of those dates.

*Match Group own and operate Tinder, Hinge, and OKCupid among other dating apps.

DADDY ALGORITHM is playing at 6pm at the Lark in Gluttony (Rymill Park) until March 10.

Read more 2024 Adelaide Fringe coverage here on InReview.

Support local arts journalism

Your support will help us continue the important work of InReview in publishing free professional journalism that celebrates, interrogates and amplifies arts and culture in South Australia.

Donate Here

. You are free to republish the text and graphics contained in this article online and in print, on the condition that you follow our republishing guidelines.

You must attribute the author and note prominently that the article was originally published by InReview.  You must also inlude a link to InReview. Please note that images are not generally included in this creative commons licence as in most cases we are not the copyright owner. However, if the image has an InReview photographer credit or is marked as “supplied”, you are free to republish it with the appropriate credits.

We recommend you set the canonical link of this content to to insure that your SEO is not penalised.

Copied to Clipboard