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Fringe Review: Searching For Party

By Mer Weinhold on June 17, 2016

60 minutes | Comedy, Drama | PG 

I have a confession to make: I’m not much of a video gamer. I don’t own any of the major consoles, I don’t spend much time gaming, and I haven’t spent money on a game in years.

Nonetheless, I hugely enjoyed Searching for Party. It’s a series of semi-connected scenes with fun, snappy dialogue which cover many aspects of video games — who games, why they game, and why they love it and keep coming back for more.

One scene explores the dangers of talking on a headset around other people, another discusses why both mobile games like Candy Crush and story-heavy games like Dragon Age can be equally compelling, while a third points out that sometimes, a good video game is much more relaxing than a bad house party. The longer scenes are interspersed with conversations between two people who are distant in location and age, but strike up a very real friendship through sharing a virtual world.

The small cast is quite versatile, with each actor skillfully playing three or four characters throughout the show. These characters are differentiated by charmingly subtle costume design (keep an eye out for geeky t-shirts), and a simple yet effective set of four chairs and a coffee table. Minimal sound and lighting make for a relaxed atmosphere, as though one was hanging out in a living room with friends.

Those with no video game familiarity at all may not find much to interest them, but this is a risk with any show on a specific topic. Fortunately, in-depth game knowledge isn’t required, with most of the jokes and references being to well-known titles and genres such as Pac-Man, Mario, first-person shooters, and fantasy MMORPGs.

Searching for Party is a funny, clever, and heartfelt ode to games and gamers, well worth checking out on your own or with your whole raid group.

Searching for Party plays at Venue 1 – Arts Court Theatre, 2 Daly Avenue, on June 18 at 10:30 pm, June 19 at 4:00 pm, June 22 at 7:00 pm, June 25 at 9:00 pm, and June 26 at 5:00 pm.