One Actor, One Spectator, and One-of-a-Kind ‘Blind Date’
Closing the Centaur’s Fiftieth Season, ‘Blind Date’ Combines Improv and Theatre
Let’s be real—blind dates can be thrilling, but they can also be terrifying. The anticipation of meeting someone new is exciting, but what if things go wrong? What if the spark just isn’t there? What if the entire date just goes to shit?
This uncertainty is at the core of Blind Date, a part-play, part-improvisation creation currently playing at the Centaur Theatre until April 28. It is also closing the theatre’s fiftieth season, and it’s definitely an audacious piece to end such an iconic year.
The concept is simple. We meet Mimi, a young woman in search of love, who has been stood up by her date for over two hours. She’s visibly annoyed, but then, she gets this “crazy, crazy idea”: What if she were to take someone from the audience on a date instead?
Of course, Mimi’s “dates” are often aware of the possibility prior to curtain call, but not that early beforehand: Mimi roams the Centaur’s lounge half an hour before the show starts, mingling with the crowd, approaching potential partners. Once they give their consent, they end up on Mimi’s radar—but only one of them will share the experience on stage once the play starts.
Since Mimi’s co-star changes for every performance, Blind Date becomes a different show altogether each and every night, a little bit like an actual blind date.
It is both a blessing and a curse—the element of spontaneity is definitely intriguing for the audience, but it also becomes obvious that this surprise partner can easily make or break the show. It’s hard to gauge Blind Date’s potential with just one show because of that—what if tomorrow, Mimi gets a better partner to spend time with?
The possibilities are endless, and while it makes the show exciting, it can also become a little awkward at times, or even uncomfortable—it all depends on the partner. At least, the show frames the concept of consent very clearly once a partner is picked.
Boundaries are clearly set, with a “time-out” call available for both Mimi and her co-star (and, sometimes, the co-star’s actual partner). Emphasis on respect is often reiterated throughout the play.
During my visit, Mimi was played by Lili Beaudoin, who shared the spotlight with her date Dan, a retired law enforcement officer. Dan was definitely daring in his part, and Beaudoin’s Mimi seemed agreeably surprised at his cheek.
Their chemistry was undeniable and bursting with humour, though their difference in age often seemed rather jarring, eliciting various reactions from the crowd. While the youth sometimes starred in mildly disguised shock—or horror—at Dan’s bold advances, the older crowd ate it up, often bursting into laughter (a few times, even, bordering on hysterical).
The unease would pass quite fast in such a joyous atmosphere—heavily helped by Beaudoin’s incredible skill on stage, in such moments—but I couldn’t help but revisit some moments with a slightly critical eye, wondering if some boundaries weren’t crossed.
Overall, Blind Date is exciting, and definitely worth a look. If heterosexuality isn’t your thing—and honestly, I get you—a queer version is also showing on Thursdays, where Mimi becomes Mathieu, who’s down to take same-sex, trans, or genderqueer folks on a date.
Yeah, yet another loss for WLW. Maybe Mimi should try and take a woman out next time?