Have you ever sat in a restaurant and eavesdropped on someone else’s blind date? What makes it so fascinating? Is it the mystery? The equal likelihood that it could turn into beautify harmony or a cacophony of awkward? An awkcophony? Rebecca Northan’s Blind Date, now playing at the Garner Galleria theater, takes this exact experience and turns it into a long-form improv show using a different audience member every night as a blind date for Mimi the clown.
Blind Date Teases the Voyeur in All of Us
HE SAID: Ever see a couple at a restaurant and wonder if they were on a date, and if they were, wonder how it was going? That’s exactly this play. What an incredible premise! My first impression was that this was going to be mostly a social experiment. And in part, it was. It perfectly tapped into the voyeuristic part of every person that loves to go people watching and secretly wishes they could eavesdrop on conversations. And while it feels like an interesting look at human relationship psychology – there is also a very hilarious and well-crafted piece of of theatre involved.
SHE SAID: I am in complete agreement with you that the premise is incredibly clever. And risky. In fact, so risky that before we went to check it out, I held my expectations in pretty careful check. I was concerned that there were so many potential traps, that there was no way it could actually be entertaining for most of the duration of the play. I thought there were at least two ways it could go horribly wrong. First, Rebecca as Mimi would control the evening so much that it would fall into a trite isn’t-dating-awful, bitter woman kind of show. (Think of the fictional one-woman show on the TV series Friends, titled, “Why Don’t You Like Me?”) The second trap was that the show would depend so much on the new audience member each evening that the only emotion evoked would be vicarious embarrassment or schadenfreude, which really isn’t enough to sustain my attention for the evening. I was completely wrong. Rebecca Northan has found a brilliant way to make a good idea into a great show.
Rebecca Northan Brings Hilarity Out of Structured Chaos
HE SAID: I had some slight worries like that, but I was ready for it to work well and my expectations were surpassed. The perfect combination of total honest reaction from the audience member and the expert improvisation make for a brilliant and utterly hilarious experience. Rebecca, as Mimi, is so skilled at what she does that you never feel like the show is out of control. You feel like she is ready for anything to happen, and knows immediately how to let it happen while keeping the show moving. I imagine it’s a delicate balance that few people could actually maintain.
SHE SAID: She really is a master improviser in the sense that she is full of play the entire time, but as an audience member you never feel unsafe. The fact that she has so much experience doing the show is also really comforting as an audience member. Although I’m sure each show is very unique and her dates are different, I’m sure she has encountered a good number of very difficult situations in the past. The audience definitely gets the sense that she can handle anything, whether it’s because she has a plan, or just really robust comic reflexes. What impressed me most though, is that she manages to keep things sincere, real and deep. By the end of the show I was genuine touched by the relationship between Mimi and her date, which is much more impressive than a good connection formed between a cast or improv troupe with dozen of hours of rehearsal under their belts.
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Blind Date Makes for Perfect Date Night
THEY SAID: The fact that this show is produced by Kevin McCollum (behind Tony Award-winning productions of Rent, Avenue Q, and In the Heights) might be a vote-of-confidence enough for some. But for those that need more, here is what you need to know: An amazing concept, brilliant talent, and the uncontrollable variable of an actual audience member carrying half of the show all mesh together in this laugh out loud performance. Blind Date will make you grateful for the date you brought with you, or hopeful that your next blind date could really be something special. This one sure is!
For more information on Blind Date , see the Blind Date website. Blind Date plays through November 6 at the Garner Galleria in the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Click the banner above for tickets and more information.