A random audience member gets sucked into an improvised love story with a clown. The idea behind Rebecca Northan and Spontaneous Theatre’s Blind Date is great, but it always feels like something is missing.
Blind Date begins before we even enter the auditorium, with waiters roaming around the venue with black suits, French accents and white rabbit ears on their head. They help the audience in, they interact (“Oh no, you two sit together, don’t leave an empty space! It’s a lovely night, you are friends now!”). As we sit, Mimi enters and sits at a table – leaving an empty chair next to her. She’s a lovely girl with a red dress and a red clown nose, but she has been unfortunately stood up. Perhaps a kind gentleman from the audience would like to spend the evening with her?
But let’s set some ground rules first: if, at any point, either participant needs or wants to stop the date (or the play), they can call a time-out, step aside with their (scene) partner and just sort out the situation. The volunteer has been found, he agrees to everything. Now this Blind Date can begin.
I don’t want to get into too many details of their date night. Both because I wouldn’t want to spoil the fun, but also because this show relies a lot on improvisation. If you go again, in a week’s time, you will see a completely different story – and in my opinion this is probably the best and the worst aspect of the show. The idea behind Blind Date is great: a random man gets sucked into a completely improvised love story with a clown. That opens up so many possibilities, especially if a very good company like Spontaneous Theatre is involved. Mimi and the multi-roling waiters work like a clock, with everyone ready to improvise – including the technician, who provides ad-hoc sounds effects with great accuracy.
But throughout the evening, I always felt like something was missing. The few gags that were scripted could have been more daring, the obstacles more fun, the journey to “The End” a little more captivating. “The path of true love never did run smooth” – it should be the same for on-stage improvised dates. Then again, it’s only fair to remember that one out of the five people on stage is not necessarily a professional actor, and I have to say that the remaining ones did quite a good job orbiting around him, making sure he was always comfortable with what he was asked to do.
In conclusion, what I can say is that Blind Date is a smart show. It’s different every night and you should go watch it if you are after a nice evening with something more than just a conventional play. In fact, I might go again – just to see if Mimi has more luck this time.