Matt Tiller... Ladykiller
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2005
Matt has one hour to make you fall in love... with him.
Matt Tiller aims to make one member of the audience fall in love with him within the hour. Not necessarily with his awkward charm, which he has in bundles, but with the flirting techniques garnered from the shelves of the self-help section of his local Waterstones.
This road-testing of some theory or other has almost become an off-the-peg formula for an Edinburgh show now, and so takes a performer of great invention to pull it off. The floppy-fringed Tiller, for all his good points, cannot do it.
Aptly enough, given the subject matter, Ladykiller has all the feel of a first date – it’s slightly embarrassing, the conversation is stilted and you’re never quite convinced you’re being presented with the real person.
Tiller relies a lot on audience reaction, asking for suggestions and plucking women from the rows to act out various scenarios. But such participation is not always forthcoming, especially when the room is as sparsely populated as it was on this afternoon, leaving an unnerving air of discomfort over proceedings.
He tries his best to get us involved, but the typical middle-class English reserve that blights his dating history is also a problem in geeing up a reluctant room. Still, he does put himself through the mill of rejection in the name of his art, and has the video evidence to prove it. Watch and squirm.
But there is, in fact, too much reliance on the screen, hampering the show’s flow rather than enhancing it. It does little to help us care about his supposed research, meaning we never really care about the concept.
There are some nice touches: the constant refrain that ‘it’s not that type of show…’ whenever anything even remotely suggestive, Tiller’s geekish likeability and the graphics that add a stylish air.
But, ultimately, Ladykiller falls with some force between too stools. It’s neither fluid enough nor structured enough to hold the attention, which leaves the idea floundering.