Have you ever been on a Tinder date? Picture that in front of a live audience, where only one of the participants knows what’s going on.
Become reawakened to the possibilities of love and human connection
Rebecca Northan has created something really special with her show Blind Date. Each evening, she invites a man from the audience to join her on stage as her date. We all get a bird’s eye view of the proceedings as the two get to know each other, changing locations a few times and interacting with some interesting side characters. Northan takes beautiful care of the volunteer, setting up a special ‘Time Out’ zone which he can activate any time he feels uncomfortable.
When you consider how many stand ups are using the memories of terrible dating experiences in their routines, it’s refreshing to see this new take on modern romance. Any obvious cynical jokes that could be made along the way are completely passed over — there is no judgement in this space at CanadaHub. Northan uses her many charms and conversational skills to encourage her stage partner to open up to his date, and thus to the audience. More than that, her persona is so lively and empathetic that she brings out the absolute best version of the person she’s talking to. He cannot help but shine in her presence.
Our leading lady in red is the perfect date. Confident, witty, curious, vulnerable, honest, reassuring, whimsical, easygoing, and a true romantic. She embraces the humour of every moment, while also allowing the awkward moments to lie. After all, what’s a first date without a bit of discomfort? Her conversational style feels so natural, we can see the effect on her date as he settles into the format and learns to follow her lead. She somehow manages to turn stories about exes and ceramics into insightful life observations, hinting at a deeper understanding of human nature than you might expect from a droll French clown.
Despite the fact that this is improvisation, the performance flows so smoothly we could almost imagine the male participant was an audience plant. The rest of the cast and crew do an admirable job of keeping up with the twists and turns of the date, throwing in a few roadblocks (sometimes literally) to keep things interesting. Blind Date has been running for over ten years and, after attending one of their Fringe performances, it’s not hard to see why. Catch the show before it leaves Edinburgh, and let the outer shell of cynicism that we build around ourselves fall away as you become reawakened to the possibilities of love and human connection.