ROBYN PERKINS: MATING SELECTION @ Ice Cream Factory gets 7.5/10

Robyn Perkins: Mating Selection @ Ice Cream Factory
Thursday, January 30, 2020


Mating Selection is a fantastic show from a super engaging, fiercely clever lady who has looked at the science behind attraction, and shines a light on how damn difficult it is to navigate the rules society has placed on our interactions with one another, and how hard it actually is to be brave enough to tell the truth about these things.

It’s an intimate crowd at Ice Cream Factory’s Deluxe space, which is great. Perkins comes out to greet everyone, jostle them together, and hands everyone a cup with voting chips accompanied by perky tune I Wanna Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston. She begins to tell the tale of her life, an American lass who has lived in London for the last 11 years, and the little ‘Britishisms’ (“What am I like?!”, “bell-end”)  she has picked up during this time are impossibly endearing. Perkins is a charming performer, making us feel like friends here to shake our heads in amusement as we listen to our funny mate talk about her antics.

Holding nothing back, she jumps straight into cringe territory, as she shows us screenshots of an actual conversation she had with a potential plough on a dating app. And when I say cringe, I mean, cringe. Perkins uses her ridiculous (-ly awesome!) brain to science nerd the shit out of this dude, in a highly hilarious, witty fashion. As a Marine Biologist, Perkins admits she overanalyses every aspect of her life, which really is to the benefit of the audience as we are treated to a detailed and interesting perspective on the topics discussed from an intelligent, well-informed yet animated and gifted storyteller.

Throughout the performance, Perkins uses a presentation on a screen as a visual aid, much like a professor would when lecturing students, except much more entertaining. It works well in the context of this show that combines science and philosophy with stand-up.

Perkins has even created graphs to show how society perceives how a female’s love of sex affects their girlfriend ability (not good), for example, and equations for things like how long one should wait before responding to a text from a potential partner. As she explains her reasoning, you agree wholeheartedly, and yet it’s all done in such an amusing way that you crack up throughout. She takes you on a philosophical journey you may not expect, posing questions you may not have thought of (“What if, instead of women only being able to have a child every nine months, men could only jizz once every nine months?”) while addressing the double standard between men and women when it comes to the dating game.

Mating Selection is brimming with loads of no-holds-barred audience interaction, and as Perkins regales us with the true story of her participation in a live dating show (you’ll get no spoilers on that here!), we get to vote each step of the way who we think she should have chosen on the night. As Perkins reveals more information, we get to vote again and again, and it is wildly fascinating to see how the room’s mood swings after each vote.

A highly enjoyable, saucy show that’s recommended for pretty much anyone – except don’t go with your parents unless you’ve played Cards Again Humanity against them before, sometimes it’s cringe-central. Hectic, fast, funny, interesting, and most of all, intelligent, it comes as no surprise that Mating Selection has won a Fringe weekly comedy award in 2020.