Review: Algorithms at Pleasance (Baby Grand)

Algorithms’  tagline is ‘a bisexual Bridget Jones for the online, millennial generation’. It delivers on these claims, but could just as easily have been called ‘Fleabag for the less f*cked up’. In a Fringe where almost every press release for a one-woman show is labelled ‘the next Fleabag!’, Sadie Clarke, who plays Brooke, has the most compelling claim to that throne. 

There is an energy about her that is infectious, she has eyebrows that can raise a room and a knowing smile that makes you feel like you’re in on all the jokes. She also has the ability to slip in and out of character with the kind of skill that reminds me of Ruth Wilson.

Brooke, our protagonist, is dumped by her girlfriend just before her 30th birthday. She, unlike Fleabag, has done everything right in her life: gained a sensible degree, worked hard at it and her relationships, and yet finds herself single and unemployed at this milestone of a birthday. To make matters worse, she works for an online dating agency, writing the algorithms for love. Not wanting to be outdone by her ex, she picks herself up and goes on a series of dates with those with a high match rate. With such frequency that it begins to feel like having a part-time job. 

Ultimately, this is a tale of coming to terms with yourself.  ‘you do you’ is emblazoned on the badges given out at the end of the show. What could be an incredibly cheesy rom-com is just wry enough and is driven by fantastic writing that successfully walks the fine line that all the best romcoms tread. Coming out of the Soho theatre’s writer’s lab, and being long-listed for the Tony Crane award makes this unsurprising. Heartwarming, uplifting and relatable- Algorithms is the solution to what you’re going to see next.

Algorithms in on at Pleasance Baby Grand at 12.45 pm until the 26th (not 12th)

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