Theatre Company London
Pin The Tale Theatre
Catch Edinburgh
Skolka Show
Pin The Tale Theatre
Pin The Tale London
Pin The Tale Edinburgh
Reviews for Catch (2009)

Reviewed by Sally Stott
Source: The Scotsman
Date: 25th Aug-2009

ALAN and Spralsey are two ageing bachelors desperately looking for love – you may have spotted one of their personal ads in this very newspaper. They're fairly successful, very well dressed and have lots of British reserve and plenty of cash. But while they may seem like fairly contented business types, happy to accept their middle-aged loneliness and waistlines, what they're really looking for is a wife – a Russian one, from the internet.

The exceptionally versatile Emmy Sainsbury and Susan Momoko Hingley return with another beautifully conveyed piece of physical theatre; a sequel to their delightful show Skolka, which told the stories of Russian "mail-order brides". Now they've thrown off their veils and turned their attention to the perspectives of those "buying" them, which is where Alan and Spralsy come in.

Sainsbury and Momoko Hingley effortlessly morph into the two awkward men, complete with bumbling mannerisms, repressed emotions and little top hats. Using suitcases and translucent fabric as props, they twist, bend and expand to embody the characters they've created in a very physical way. It's terrific to see and the sheer detail of their performances will make you forget that you're watching women pretending to be men.

Alan works for a bank and has a Welsh secretary who's desperate to be with him, but he finds her overpowering and frustrating. Meanwhile, Spralsey (real name Dave) is battling to get to grips with a new computer that his officious daughter insists he have to keep him up-to-date with the modern world. It's through this computer that he finds the website,

We follow Alan's and Spralsey's stumbling attempts to meet and greet Russian women online, geekily taking down their reference numbers, then comparing notes while on a "love tour" to Russia, after they find themselves sitting together on the plane.

Both men are touchingly romantic at heart but sadly misguided, believing that the women will like them for who they are, rather than for the free passports to the UK.

It's all very sad and hopeless. The play's conclusion seems to be that no-one, buyer or bride, is ever going to be really satisfied in relationships of such convenience. However, you can't help feeling disappointed by Alan and Spralsey's lack of success. The only consolation is that at least they've now got each other.

Reviewed by Theo Barnes
Source: Broadway Baby
Date: 13th Aug-2009

It’s going to catch on

This play looks at the lucrative and expanding trade of Russian brides and the western men who seek what they believe will bring fulfilment to their lives; attractive, devoted Russian women. The main characters are a cross section of society from the foolish and self-deceived banker to the aging and lonely butcher. As expected, the internet dating sites and brides take advantage of the men as much as the men hoped to take advantage of the women. The show demonstrates why this largely unexplored moral area can be so dangerous and dislikable.

This production is quite fantastic. A great soundtrack, script and good acting combine to produce a powerful show. The actresses use all the props they have to hand with wonderful effects, making this an intricate piece of physical theatre. Deep thought has gone into much of the play, from the representation of the men falling in love using great lighting to the use luggage bags to portray the Russian brides. The performances are believable and particularly impressive due to the number of characters the cast of two present.

I strongly encourage you to see this show, a fantastic take on a fast growing and potentially great problem for society, explored in wonderful theatre.

Reviewed by Ellie Tuck
Source: Three weeks
Date: Aug-2009

Ever wondered what goes on inside the minds of men with mail-order brides? Me neither, but 'Catch' attempts to tell the story of two such folk, both on a quest, via Moscow, to score themselves a beautiful foreign companion. The all-female cast implemented the best use of props I've seen at the festival so far; each played several characters but their dexterity and theatrical versatility meant there was no difficulty in distinguishing between them. This was a witty and satirical performance and there was no attempt to demonise the two male protagonists; instead what we saw was a sensitive commentary realising the implications of loneliness on a human life. Hugely enjoyable, catch it if you can.

Reviewed by Graeme Strachan
Source: British Theatre Guide
Date: Aug-2009

Having brought the plight of Russian mail-order brides to the festival, the girls who brought the hit show Skolka to the festival two years ago have returned with the follow-up show Catch. Whilst the previous play was a heart-rending exploration of the reasons behind three young women's motivation to try and find a British husband through an Internet dating site; the sequel neatly inverts the concept and gives us the perspective of two men seeking out such brides. Emmy Sainsbury and Susan Momoko Hingley play the men in question, as widower Spralsey and Alan the banker respectively. It flows wonderfully and although it is a spiritual sequel to Skolka there is no need to have seen the original for it to resound with meaning.

It's an ingeniously formed play that opens with the two men, each decked out in Edwardian 3-piece suits and top-hats; casting lines into the audience to the strains of From Russia with Love. This unique opening gambit obliquely acts as a metaphor for the entire production as both a criticism of the old-fashioned mindsets that form the mens' endeavour and the futile and random nature of it all. Carrying the story of the very different suitors' journey from internet trawling to Russian bride-finding holiday, the players act out the parts with equal measure of sympathy and scorn. Each man is lonely and looking for love for different reasons but each is incapable of finding companionship at home through their own inadequacies.

The play manages to turn the audiences feelings for the two men on their heads throughout the production, as the horribly exploitative nature of the enterprise is painfully clear, yet the measure of gentle care that is given to portraying the sad loneliness and needs of Spralsey and Alan is touchingly clear throughout.

The only downside of the piece is that the very nature of the story means that it isn't quite as affecting as the story of the brides, as the men are never entirely sympathetic as characters and the decision not to skewer them with harsh criticism makes it hard to judge them with anything other than a offhand pity. Despite that, this is a brilliantly clever show constructed and performed with a full measure of theatrical mastery and it's clear that Pin the Tale have a grand career ahead of them.


Audience Reviews

Reviewer: shay, UK
Date: 26th Aug-2009

Catch this!
Anyone looking to end the festival on a high, look no further. For sheer inventiveness combined with fine acting performances, these two young actresses are hard to beat. Using minimal props and slipping seamlessly between gender roles with a combination of humour, pathos and physical skill they created a production that any major company would have been proud of. Highly recommended.

Reviewer: Michael, UK
Date: 21st Aug-2009

Inventive theatre
From the moment the two actresses step out onto the stage wearing waders and masks, your attention is fully captured for the next 60 minutes. Catch is well written and explores a topical theme, but what makes this show a real tour de force is the acting skills on display; the girls shift effortlessly from male to female characters and different personnas, using old suitcases, suddenly brought to life, as props. The stagecraft is quite remarkable and you can see the effort that has been put into rehearsals in front of your eyes. Promising talent indeed.

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