Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Grindr: The Opera review at Above the Stag, London – ‘an amusing parody’

Robby Khela, Tom Blackmore and Christian Lunn in Grindr: The Opera at Above the Stag, London: Photo: PBG
by -

Launched in 2009, Grindr is the popular geo-social dating app geared specifically to the gay community that paved the way for things like Tinder.  In this unauthorised parody Grindr: The Opera, composer Erik Ransom explores the culture of easy, anonymous sexual hook-ups in the digital age.

Devon, a shy but assertive doctor, played with straight-faced  conviction by David Malcolm searches for love and finds an unexpected match in Matthew Grove’s rakish Tom. Meanwhile an older, closeted businessman seeks far less salubrious relations with very young men. Ransom ties up this unlikely quartet with a tragicomic denouement and a score that gleefully apes the tropes of opera.

Further gravitas is provided by introducing Grindr as a presence on stage: a demonic demi-god, awoken from a Leviathan slumber to entice men. Swathed in black, Christian Lunn embodies the essence of Grindr, maniacal and luring gullible gay men into chaos.

Although the plot is slight,  director Andrew Beckett pitches the tone at just the right level of parody to make it work. It helps that musical director Aaron Clingham has created some handsome orchestrations to complement the bombastic score and David Shields’ set design fuses an old-school quality with electro kitsch.

The first musical at Above the Stag’s new home, what Grindr: The Opera lacks in complexity it more than makes up for in humour.

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price
Strong production values and a committed cast shore up this thin but amusing operatic parody