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(Originally published by IdeasTap)

Our Takeover reporter Samuel Spencer has been out and about and looking for love at Rich Mix. With our five-day arts fest well underway, he’s been in luck…

Valentine’s Day (and a whole weekend of it) is upon us.

For some, the thought of that brings you out in ecstasies of chocolates, cards and tiny teddy bears. For others, it leaves you longing to get into bed in your zebra onesie, eat a share-size bag of Doritos and watch all of the new series of House of Cards. Whatever your feelings about the capitalist hellhole that is the day itself, though, we can’t deny that the emotion behind it, love, is a pretty inspirational one. And to celebrate that, IdeasTap have taken over RichMix in Shoreditch, London to bring us four days of theatre, poetry and performers.

Thankfully, the standard, hackneyed versions of love are nowhere to be seen. There are no naked babies with wings, and roses and violets are allowed to be whatever colour they want to be. Instead, there’s love in all its beauty, misery, hilarity and pain, and often more than one of these at the same time.

This is especially the case with the rehearsed reading of Tristan Bernay’s Old Fools [pictured below]. Following the relationship of its two central characters Tom and Viv, it takes us from flirtatious beginnings to heartbreaking ends as Tom is diagnosed with Alzheimers. We see this relationship as a sequence of memories acted out of time, with the actress playing Viv taking a number of other roles that blend into each other. A warning: tissues are essential, as Tom’s deterioration becomes more increasingly tragic.

In another rehearsed reading, Scott Barnett’s play, Resolution, also told a story of an entire relationship in non-chronological order. Over the course of three New Year’s Eves on the same balcony, we get the story of Jason and Lucy, from their first talk post break-up to their first meeting at a party thrown by Lucy.

But it’s the modern world now, and people doing ordinary things like happening to meet at parties are becoming a thing of the past. Luckily, there are a whole host of works that reflect the new world of speed daters, Christian Minglers and…um….Tinder-ers?

Firstly, Thursday and Friday see performance-maker Hannah Pierce [pictures above] relive her internet dating horrors and hilarities in her one-woman show Hannah_27: Valiant Adventures in Online Dating, a wonderful look at social media protocol, ‘like’ anxieties and men who sit on dead manatees in their profile pictures. Plus she’s rocking a white leopard-print onesie that alone is worth the visit. It’s a show so good you’ll hope she never finds a relationship just so she’ll keep performing it.

If you still insist on making face-to-face contact with potential suitors, theatre company Invertigo’s immersive experience Miscellany might be more for you. Bringing speed dating to the performance space, Miscellany is a series of one-on-one encounters, mixing awkward flirting with poetry and performance to create a unique experience that’s guaranteed to be miles better than any real Valentine’s Day speed date could ever be.

Molly Taylor’s ode to public transport and its workers Love Letters to the Public Transport System, takes on especial poignancy in the wake of the recent tube strikes and will make all your subsequent armpit-in-face, umbrella-in-ribs, terror-of-the-night-bus experiences just that little bit better.

And with three more days of amazing Takeover performances to go (and let’s not forget everything is totally free), alone or single, love-struck or bitter, you really can’t afford to miss it.

Images by IdeasTap Takeover photographer Roseanna Hanson.

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