What do you do when your unrealistic romantic requisites are challenged by a feminist? How about a male feminist? How about your male feminist boyfriend?
How To Date A Feminist explores that very concept.
Steve is a feminist, so can Kate overcome her love of lipstick, cupcakes and Heathcliff? Can he forgo the ethical confetti and learn to be a little bit more ravishing in bed? Can the two of them reinvent romance for the 21st Century?
“It uses a lot of familiar situations and issues from Hollywood romcoms, but with an interesting, contemporary twist” director Matthew Lloyd explains. “The play is a very witty look at where we are with modern romance at the moment. The play is a delightfully funny, very light spin on all of that.”
So is Matthew a feminist?
“I certainly would describe myself as a feminist. A believer in equality between the sexes and the need to challenge traditional assumptions and practices to achieve that. But I'm not as dogmatic about it as the feminist in the play.”
I wondered, then, if it was his feminism that drew him to the play, but in fact he was involved from the very early stages of its development.
“I worked with Samantha Ellis, the writer, on a few drafts of the play before we decided to put it on. I do a lot of new writing, I’m really passionate about bringing new work to the theatre. It’s a process that I love.
“I immediately got excited about how clever Samantha had told the story with very simple means, you don’t need a lot to put this show on. You just need two really fabulous actors and a lot of costumes.”
The two actors, Sarah Daykin and Tom Berish, play several characters on stage. Tom also plays the father of his girlfriend and her boss, while Sarah also plays the father of his girlfriend and her boss.
“There’s a very brilliant and delightful exploitation of the actors’ versatility” Matthew adds. “They change character very quickly and seeing them do that is part of the fun of the show.”
Matthew has worked with a lot of new theatre in his career, as well as established productions across the country and in London’s West End.
He currently lives and works from his warehouse studio in Clapton, where he lives with his partner, a photographer, and it is from where he runs his theatre company Laundry Productions.
Watford Palace Theatre, 20 Clarendon Road, Watford, WD17 1JZ, Friday, November 4 until Sunday, November 6. Details: 01923 235455