BWW Review: BLIND DATE at Centaur Theatre
Going on a blind date is a risky thing. If you don't know the first thing about the person in the chair across from you, it can be nerve-wracking and lead to embarrassment, awkward silences and end in disaster. Or, it can be warm, sweet and uproariously funny.
That's the risk that creator and performer Rebecca Northan takes every night.
The premise of her "spontaneous theatre creation" Blind Date is that an unsuspecting gentleman from the audience is selected to join her in a 90-minute, mostly improvised performance. It's not as scary as all that though, since there's a method to Northan's madness. She and her team mingle with prospective dates in the lobby before the show starts, feeling out who might be open to participating.
Northan, by this point in character as Mimi, tells her date at the opening of the show that her job for the night is to take care of him and make sure he has a good time. And you can really tell that she's deeply invested in making her partner for the night feel at ease. She absolutely oozes warmth and charm from the moment she appears onstage.
The show has been bouncing around the touring circuit for a decade, and lands at the Centaur Theatre from April 9 to 28. Northan, who has a background in clowning and improv, has been on a LOT of dates. Onstage that is. She started developing a shorter version of this show in Toronto in 2007 and eventually it grew into the full-length production it is today.
There's not a huge focus on "character" or "plot" in Blind Date since every night is different deepening on the audience, and who is invited onstage to become Mimi's date. On Wednesday, it was an extremely good sport named David, who began by nervously (adorably) gulping wine before relaxing into the witty repartee and uncertain flirting that comes with any real first date.
While the risk factor with a show like this is relatively high (anything can happen), the reward is equally so, making for a riotously funny and even heartwarming piece of theatre.
It's difficult to review a show that is, in a way, a one-time-only event, but there's no doubt that the good humour and compassion Northan brings is front and centre night after night. It's a truly unique show and one that encompasses endless potential for drama, comedy and romance.
There's also a queer version of this show that plays Thursdays April 11, 18, and 25 starring David Benjamin Tomlinson as the lead clown, Mathieu.