‘The Dead Tinder Society’ puts amusing spin on the awkwardness of dating

We live in a more evolved dating era. Finding love online no longer carries the stench of desperation or shamefulness it once did. 

Today, when it comes to dating, choices are abundant and time, sadly, less so. 

The world of courtship is now one swipe or click away. 

In the play "The Dead Tinder Society", Mpho Osei-Tutu not only provides much comic relief; he also embraces the change of tone from the plays he’s worked on of late. 

Osei-Tutu says: “My last few plays have been about corruption and colonialism. This is the relief I needed. It teeters on the line of going into a very dark place but it is written and performed so beautifully and with such care by Lesedi that is’ a great comedy.”

Penned by Ashleigh Harvey, this bittersweet comedy navigates the see-saw world of dating. Jody Green (played by Sharon Spiegel-Wagner) is 36 and recently divorced. The mother-of-two is encouraged by her best friend Ray (Osei-Tutu) to give dating app Tinder a chance to spruce up her love life. 

TheDeadTinderSociety6364 1 - 'The Dead Tinder Society' puts amusing spin on the awkwardness of dating
Sharon Spiegel-Wagner and Mpho Osei-Tutu on stage in Lesedi Job’s The Dead Tinder Society. Picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso/African News Agency/ANA

Of course, swiping is the easy part of the process. Going on actual dates is where it gets complicated, much to the audience’s amusement. 

“I think audiences that have been in relationships or are planning on being in a relationship will appreciate this piece of work, just from the perspective of the sheer awkwardness of the subject. The dating experience is – once you break the ice – magical,” he explained. 

However, the honeymoon phase is just that – a phase. Once that passes, you have to find common ground. 

Osei-Tutu reveals: “The story is told from Jody’s perspective. Women who have had to deal with the terrible situation of being divorced and having to find love and a connection after that. 

"It explores this whole idea of online dating and what that’s about because the game has changed so much. I cannot tell you how it has changed because I’ve been married. But I know Tinder due to research purposes.”

He adds: “One of the interesting facts that I found out about it is that it isn’t in the Top 10 dating apps category. The sites that we found is niche; the people that I’ve spoken to, anyway, say it’s really for hook-ups. I’m sure some people find love and get married. It’s fascinating the characters you find on these apps and the catfishing.”

Aside from playing Ray, who has been divorced much longer than Jody, he also plays the different guys that Jody goes on dates with. 

He laughs: “Goodness gracious, I play about four other characters. I play a guy who looks the part but when she meets him but he’s really not. He also has a bit of baggage that is really not what Jody was expecting. 

"Then there’s another gentleman, who is sweet and really connected to Jody but she is overwhelmed by his sweetness.  Then I play a guy who is obsessed with his body. He’s there for hook-ups. He introduces her to something else, which is kind of interesting to her. Lastly, I play an Israeli. His accent alone is so fascinating. He brings that exotic flavour.”

That he is having a blast with this production is obvious by the way he raves about it. Furthermore, he is loving working with familiar faces. 

“It’s been an amazing journey and a sort of reunion as well with Lesedi. I worked with her on Mike van Graan’s When Swallows Cry. This is completely different. It’s been wonderful to explore new work, explore a new genre and also to work with Sharon, who plays Jody. 

"Last time I worked with her, she was in varsity, It was in 2004. I just watched her career soar. She did amazing work on Bedford Wives. And it was just a joy to work with her and Ashley, who I also went to varsity with.”

On what he’s got coming up, he confirms: “There’s a film called, ‘Seriously Single’. I have a small cameo in that. My wife Tumi Morake plays Noni. And Noni is also the name of my ex-wife in ‘The Dead Tinder Society’. It’s quite bizarre."

Of course, fans are familiar with his numerous TV shows, more recently Mzansi Magic’s ‘The Imposter’ and ‘Isithembiso’ (now showing on Showmax).

Before he went back to rehearsals, Osei-Tutu adds: “Everyone will enjoy this play. Bring your girlfriend, boyfriend, wife or husband. You will walk away feeling like maybe you need to interrogate a few things in your relationship but you will walk away, laughing.”

The Dead Tinder Society is on at Pieter Toerien’s Studio Theatre, Montecasino, until August 25. Tickets start from R130 and can be booked through Computicket.

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