Ten people take us in. They are a well-represented spectrum of female reality, about to enact the least ‘real’ entertainment there is, for the script here in this performance is an actual transcript of American franchise ‘The Bachelor’ Season 17, Episode 5. Audience knew Morgan Rose and Katrina Cornwell would serve them real-ness but with a dryness and an unapologetic anti-beauty-idealist aesthetic. It really delivers. It is a joyous and deliciously funny take down of a silly TV show, but the underbelly is real. Real lives and hearts, and real expectations from real bullshit that we are all fed, that many cling to (while others scoff, but watch nonetheless). “The Bachelor is merely a symptom, and hating it won’t cure the illness.”
They dived in to all the terrible things that this episode entails; a weekend away, a make-or-break challenge, a picnic for two, dinner for three and only eight roses at the end of the night.
The outfits are purposely awful and exposing and clingy and everything that is wrong with the beauty mould. Sometimes the production elements interfered with what was already very engaging – it could afford to be more minimal – the viewers were already rapt by the words and the people.
The competing ensemble is engaging and we fall in love with them all. The straightest of players are Will Bride (our eligible and troubled bachelor), Rebecca Catalano and Maggie Brown, with delightful moments from Sarah Conroy and Chris Beckey. This is a tricky script and it just can’t be hammed – unless you are the show’s host, suavely managed by John Marc Desengano.
Jane Cameron does a mournful and passionate cover of a fairly innocuous pop-song that begins the play’s slow reach into the heart. Precious Cargo later takes on the original with a beautiful strength in a dreamy vignette.
The ending may not be as strong or as satisfying as the rest, but, of course, love and dissatisfaction never resolve either.