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How To Pick Up Girls

Tim Briffa
Etcetera Theatre
(2006)

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With a catchy title and a flashy postcard, How to Pick up Girls by Tim Briffa builds up your anticipation for a good night out at the fringe, but proves to be nothing short of disappointing. How to is a two act play about lusting over women, whether they are real, cosmetically enhanced, or Photoshop touch-ups.

The story unfolds in the chill-out room of a Camden nightclub, where Vince, (a struggling musician who has not been laid for six months) played by Paul O'Neill, and his pals, Adam and Nick, compare notes on how to, 'pull' women. The play is not offensive to women; it's just not very insightful. Adam, played by Patrick O'Conner-Read, is set up as the, 'player' while Nick, played by Daniel Robert Leigh, is the educated pervert that has never fallen in love, but not even the stereotypes come to life in what is a very flat play.

The only two characters to change through the course of the play are Vince, who finds love, and Nick, who loses his first love. This happens when Vince's orders the eponymous self-help CD course, which in itself represents something quite desperate about the male characters in the play, almost tragic as they are chasing companionship without wanting commitment. Or do they? This question is perhaps one of the only jewels hidden in the play.

The female supporting characters however, were a breath of fresh air, Salina, played by Catherine Mobley, is Vince's regular one-night stand. Mobley brings her text to life in a humorous and believable way, while Holly, Vince's girlfriend, played by Zahra Brown, offers a bit of feistiness and punch to the end of a very long play. I would have loved to see more of these two characters throughout the play.

How to has the potential to be a touching and relevant story about the fickleness of human relationships, but the script needs to be scrutinized and developed further, as does the direction of the whole play.

Reviewer: Lennie Varvarides