Theatre review: Forthcoming, QPAC

Awkward stories of online dating.

Forthcoming is a hilarious, sexy, and entertaining theatre rom-com that follows the adventures of Gwen (Cece Peters) on four Tinder dates. Siri introduces to Gwen her matches one by one: Sebastian the philosopher, the charming Italian Franco, the youthful and joyful Aaron, and Sandy who has a love of laughter. 

Gwen’s dates are all impersonated by Johnny Balbuziente. It was amusing to see Balbuziente change characters using a variety of wigs, accents and body postures. 

The show opens with the steamy scene of Gwen having sex with a doctor who specialises in ‘treating women…. with respect.’ But it turns out that this was just a wet dream and that Gwen’s sex life is non-existent. She has been dating for over a year, but all of her dates end up in drunken and embarrassing nights out with random strangers. As she gains an awareness of this dilemma, Gwen decides to date sober. Sometimes she succeeds, sometimes she doesn’t. 

Read: Theatre review: Perahu-Perahu, OzAsia Festival

An unusual and interesting feature of this show is an invitation to the audience to use an app to vote and shape Gwen’s situation. Why Sebastian has a Nickelback ringtone, whether Gwen should order a salad or nachos on a first date and who she should go on a second date with are all subject to audience participation. The results were shown live on stage and the actors acted accordingly. However, this feature probably sounds better than it actually was. The fact that the results were shown live means that if only one person cast a vote, their vote counted as 100% and the graph displayed can easily influence everyone else who is voting. Nonetheless, this is a fun feature that makes Forthcoming unique and interactive. 

The show attracted an unusual crowd to the theatre, and it often felt like being at the stadium with people shouting and cheering. It brings to the stage awkward stories of dating that most 21st-century Western women have endured. Both Peters and Balbuziente delivered great performances, but I found it disappointing that only the face of (reality show star) Balbuziente was used to market Forthcoming.

Forthcoming, Written by Nelle Lee

Queensland Performing Arts Centre
Featuring Johnny Balbuziente and Cece Peters
Directors: Nelle Lee and Nick Skubij 
Creative Producer: Ross Balbuziente
Designer: Josh McIntosh
Lighting Designer: Jason Glenwright
Sound Designer: Guy Webster
Video Designer: Craig Wilkinson
Intimacy Director:
 Michele Mial
Tickets: $69-$96

Forthcoming will be performed until 7 November 2021

Federica Caso is a political analyst and writer. She has recently completed her PhD in International Politics at the University of Queensland. Her research focuses on the politics of aesthetics and art. She is interested in how art and culture are co-opted in systems of power and domination, and used as instruments of political resistance. She has written, hosted events, and facilitated discussions about the politics of aesthetics. She is a board member of House Conspiracy, an art centre located in West End, Brisbane.