By Samara Caplan and Laura Gauthier. Laura and Samara spend their days as non-profit unicorns and fill every spare minute exploring the world of musical theatre as BFFs (that’s Broadway Friends Forever).
No matter where you may currently be in your romantic life, we can all relate to the awkwardness, nerves and hope that can come with a first date. While it’s been a long time since either of us have forged through the first date minefield, we were keen to check out Tuba Czar Productions’ first full-length musical. We had enjoyed an evening of their Bad Broadway (“good songs from Broadway flops”) last year, which, it turns out, was to help finance this show. We’re always thrilled to see another group bring more musicals to Ottawa.
First Date: The Musical lets the audience watch as all of the typical (what do we talk about now?) to not-so-typical (singing waiter anyone?) first date expectations play out. We get to know Aaron and Casey as they get to know each other, and as the other restaurant patrons turn into their friends, family and exes to help sing-and-dance them through the perils of a first date.
The show is filled with comedic moments which had the audience laughing often and hidden props and costumes come out to help transform the other diners. Though the show could use a little more fine tuning, with some of the timing a bit off, its relaxed, intimate, and comedic style makes this easy to look past.
Unfortunately microphone issues persisted throughout the show, mostly impacting Axandre Lemours who played the male lead of Aaron. The intimate theatre at Arts Court meant the audience could still hear most of his speaking parts, however the amazing live band drowned out his unamplified voice through many songs, making it difficult to hear a lot of his clever lines that helped to drive the storyline. But that’s what preview shows are for—working out some of the kinks.
Nevertheless, the great company of local actors and musicians deliver a witty and humorous take on a first date in the age of Google and social media, and the audience will come to realize that it’s also not that different than a first date before this age of online dating. Past relationships, hangups, self-doubt and confidence seem to cut across time, making it a show anyone can relate to.
From the song “First Impression” where we get insight into what Aaron and Casey really think of each other, to “I’d Order Love” from the aforementioned singing waiter, to “The Things I Never Said” where Aaron reveals a striking past, the show brings you through light-hearted fare and deep emotions leaving you wanting to know if a second date is on the horizon.
First Date continues at Arts Court until Saturday, November 10th. Shows are Thursday and Friday at 7:30pm and Saturday at 2:30pm and 7:30pm. Tickets are $25. The show runs about 90 minutes with no intermission.