2 Become 1 is a musical comedy by Swipe Right Theatre, set in the poptastic 1990s. Jess has been dumped, and her three best friends (Molly, Charlie and Amanda) decide that she needs to get back out there – so they take her speed dating. The show recalls the 90s well, and the tunes are good, but the performance unfortunately isn't.
The tone is set from the start, as the four-member cast sing All Saints' Never Ever - the backdrop to a tearful call between Jess and her ex. Next we have a montage sung to Shania Twain’s Man I Feel Like A Woman, and all dolled up in the very latest dodgy 90s fashion, the women head out to a club.
There's some fun word-play at the speed dating: the focus shifts between the four women, breaking up their sentences and rearranging the meaning of their conversations. There's a dig at the modern Conservative government by Jess, who questions who would vote for a party that cuts funding to education, healthcare and the arts – neatly recalling the optimism of the early days of New Labour. There is also a great monologue by Molly about then-new-fangled online dating.
But all four of the actresses over-act their roles, and the mugging of Kerrie Thomason’s Molly was genuinely distracting. The characters are also very one-dimensional, all too accurately defined by the Cosmopolitan magazine quiz they take: Molly is a bit dim, Charlie is a man eater, Amanda is weird and Jess is the bubbly one. And while the choice of music was fantastic – I really enjoyed hearing Shania Twain, Britney Spears, the Spice Girls et al – some of the performances were slightly off and not all the harmonies were well done. It's a shame they didn't make the most of their source material.
There is a lot of audience participation, especially for one lucky (?) man who becomes the object of Amanda’s affection, and is dragged up to take part in a cheesy homage to a particular iconic film. In fact, the cast get the whole audience going, and everyone was singing along in a nostalgic reverie to the 90s girl power music. But the stereotypical characters and the sub-par acting mean that unless you happened to be a teenager in the 90s, this probably won’t do much for you.