Review by Darcy Rock
A Moment to Love is a modern love story of millennial proportions. Following the familiar tale of thwarted romance in our digital age, playwright and performer Vivian Nguyen unpacks the painfully relatable and at times shocking lengths one will go to find the one.
Situated in various Melbourne hot-spots, the forty five minute one-woman-show produced by Nguyen and FlickFlickCity will have you nodding in cringe at the familiarity of places and characters we meet along the way. With wit and charm Nguyen affords us great characterisation and comedic timing, her performance is exciting and creative and something that is no doubt executed by a cohesive creative team of direction and crew.
We are thrust into her world of hook-ups and online dating. From her perspective we understand how it all works. We see her contort her body and self to fit a preconceived idea of who she needs to be. We understand her desperation to be seen while at the same time being disgusted by who she needs to be to achieve it. We hear the intrusive thoughts, from her Catholic upbringing, Asian parents and past experiences with emotionally unavailable men. We feel her emotional body speak through her rationalisations. Anxiety is personified and like anxiety, it’s uncomfortable and ill-timed. She wants to shut it out but it only makes it louder and stronger. We are made aware of the little voice inside her and ask is it intuitive, the truth? Or is it something more sinister and self-sabotaging?
The show, overall is well-paced and rarely slacks energetically. The scenes are well-rounded and concise, cleverly accommodating to their audience of the attention deprived. We are kept moving through moments and never settle too long for anything to get stale. The props on stage are blocks with an obscured mirror finishing, something perhaps symbolic of her obscured view of herself and love. Nonetheless its’ minimalism keeps focus while providing levels to the action, allowing shadow and a natural playfulness to her movement.
The sound design so effortlessly feels like the backdrop to everyday life. With automated voice tones, notification bells and message alerts, it made me flinch at my pocket a few times mistaking the sounds as coming from my own phone.
By the height of the action we have moved through moments of epiphany and confusion, getting glimpses of clarity about what is wanted and needed, but nothing substantial enough to know with certainty. At it’s conclusion it feels unclear whether the empowerment found is merely rationalised or if it is real and now, embodied. It seems more convincing that she is empowered that the decision made was hers, rather than if it was the right one or one that was true for her. I felt it left, perhaps the most important questions unexplored, a sense that there was something unspoken that still needed to be fleshed out and heard.
Despite this, there are plenty of moments to love during this show and it will definitely satisfy an audience with it’s relevancy and cleverness. It may even for some offer reassurance about the dating world and that one is not alone in the pursuit to find romantic love that will last.