To the Moon… and Back… and Back…
Reviewed – 19th August 2018
“an incredibly honest depiction of 21st century dating in a city such as London“
As part of the Camden Fringe Festival, Rachel Salisbury stars in her own original work, To the Moon …and Back …and Back… whereby she explores the minefield of dating in the 21st century. The play centres on a time earlier this year when Salisbury went viral with a post she wrote on her Facebook page advertising for a boyfriend. She recounts the surreal experience as part of an anthology of disappointing dating experiences throughout her life, starting from her teenage obsession with Romeo as well as a whole host of other unattainable literary romantic figures.
Having anything in your seemingly private online sphere becoming viral overnight would be overwhelming for anyone, and it is admirable that Salisbury attempts to reclaim her side of the story throughout the piece. As the articles surrounding her online predicament broke less than three months ago, it is quite a feat to have created such a polished performance in a short space of time. However, whilst Salisbury attempts to shine a light on the various ways in which modern dating culture can often lead to immense vulnerability, there did not seem to be a clear direction to the narrative as a whole. There was an incredible emphasis on the trials and tribulations of being a hopeless romantic but no exploration of life outside of being almost obsessed with finding the “one.”
One of the highlights of the piece was the staging choices, particularly the heavy symbolism laid upon the clothes which Salisbury wears one by one as she recounts a handful of her previous romantic encounters. It highlighted some of the absurdities we simply consider routine as part of the modern dating ritual. Although, whilst at times it felt incredibly relatable, it seemed the character Salisbury depicted on stage was often at times rather one-dimensional and therefore made it hard to empathise with her struggles.
To the Moon …and Back …and Back… whilst not particularly ground-breaking in its overall message, is most definitely an incredibly honest depiction of 21st century dating in a city such as London.
Reviewed by Claire Minnitt
The German Girls
Etcetera Theatre until 22nd August
as part of The Camden Fringe Festival 2018