Lonely hearts put on an act

Unrequited luvvies: No standing ovation for the Royal Court's first singles night

It was the first high-profile singles night in London theatreland and it was going down a storm. Along the ranks of seats, couples could be seen chatting, holding hands, exchanging phone numbers - practically engagement rings - in their eagerness to get hitched.

Or not. In reality, the Royal Court Theatre's first-ever singles night was turning out to be a boringly decorous affair more reminiscent of Jane Austen than Gone with the Wind.

For a start, people had cheated - almost none of the 100 "singles" was truly alone.Women brought their best friends, men brought their chums, and there were a number of duos who looked suspiciously like couples.

The other problem was the seating. The Royal Court had planned to sell seats to alternate sexes, creating the ambience of a well-bred dinner party, but it had not allowed for the startling preponderance of men. As fate would have it, my neighbours on one side were a gaggle of (female) American students, but I had higher hopes for the clean-cut young man on my left, until he revealed himself as a reporter from the Daily Telegraph.

Nor was the play ideal courting material. Sebastian Barry's The Steward of Christendom is estimable in its way, but the ravings of an aged Irish lunatic are not conducive to an atmosphere of frolics and fun. True, the creakings from the stalls - the ghetto of singledom - increased as the play went on, but appeared to stem more from frustration than illicit activity.

Much rested on the interval but this, too, proved a disappointment. The best friends talked to each other, the couples queued to get each other drinks and the few bona fide singles stared fixedly into the middle distance or made a tactical retreat to the lavatory.

I spotted two girls from my university, but they were more intent on talking to each other than checking out the talent. My colleague from the Telegraph also sighted an old acquaintance, but he "pretended not to recognise her in case she got embarrassed". And so, as the interval faded, the non-smoking bar set aside for the singles took on the atmosphere of an unsuccessful cocktail party.

A great way to see a play on your own. Not a great way to get hitched.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special
tvNick Frost, Natalie Gumede and Michael Troughton step up
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Beard, Ben Schnetzer, Douglas Booth and Jack Farthing in ‘The Riot Club’
filmReview: Sheer nastiness of Riot Club takes you aback
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Senior Research Executive - Quantitative/Qualitative

£27000 - £31000 Per Annum Excellent Benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

ETL Developer / Consultant

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week