by Phoebe Webber
55 min / G / Comedy / Drama / Musical
Returning to Ottawa Fringe, Phoebe Webber’s one person show The Date is a peek inside the mind of a woman preparing for a date punctuated with opera. In 2018 this was a 35-minute show, and for its 2019 iteration it has been lengthened to 55, though the core of the performance appears mostly unchanged. Webber’s funny, self-aware musings spiral into darker thoughts and anxiety, only to return to a confidence grounded in a love of cats.
Between each point, Webber fills the room with what is evidently a trained voice. Accompanied by solo piano, she leans into many difficult operatic passages. It’s clear these are meant to complement her state of mind as she prepares for this date, but I confess I don’t know nearly enough about opera for the connection to be clear.
Her voice and the arrangements are well done. Occasionally there are strange scratches on the recordings, and the flipping of pages can be heard, but that hardly detracts from what is a good performance.
It’s worth catching for those who are interested in opera or in exploring the thinking around modern dating.
Though all the elements of the show are strong, it never really seems to add up to anything. The musings never go anywhere, and the arc of the story seems to reach no real conclusion. Even at 55 minutes, the show seems like it’s slightly incomplete. It’s worth catching for those who are interested in opera or in exploring the thinking around modern dating.
The Date by Phoebe Webber is playing at Studio 1201 (10 Daly Ave) until Saturday June 22, 2019. Tickets cost $12 online (plus a $2 processing fee) and at the door. Visit ottawafringe.com for the schedule and box office info. Read more reviews at apt613.ca/fringe.