Canterbury FirstDate

Canterbury Summer Theatre’s “First Date” will tickle Your Funny Bone!

**** Recommended **** Canterbury Summer Theatre’s “First Date” is a quirky little show that’ll just reach out and grab you!  Two people meet for a blind date in real time- something that is rarely done on stage.  All of those awkward pauses and verbal slips we’ve all experienced on a blind/first date are here, and they’re really funny.  The music is kind of atonal, almost discordant, yet it works.   Even though I saw the Towle Theater production of “First Date” a couple of months ago, this version still made me laugh!  I give it 4 Spotlights.

Wearing a suit and looking uncomfortable, Aaron (Joseph Alvey) arrives at a bar/restaurant where he’s supposed to meet some random girl for a drink.  The helpful waiter tells him to get rid of the tie, open his collar and muss up his hair.  While he’s waiting Aaron orders a ‘manly’ beer and listens to his best friend (imaginary) giving him dating tips.

Wearing a cute dress and a leather jacket, Casey (Christie Coran) arrives at the same bar/restaurant looking for some random guy she’s supposed to meet for a drink.  When the waiter points out her date, she asks for a shot and a double of something strong.  Her sister (in her imagination), whose husband arranged this date, hovers encouraging her to give this date a chance.

The very talented ensemble – Jesse Kortus, Rachel Paul, Clara Flaherty and Earnest Roberts – play all the other parts.

After learning where Casey is from (Michigan), Aaron mentions that he went to camp in Michigan for many summer.  They discover several mutual acquaintances from school.  Since Casey knows many of his friends, he makes an assumption, then learns to his shock that she’s not Jewish!  Everything stops as his dead Jewish grandmother (Flaherty) and the ensemble sing “The Girl for You”.

Shortly thereafter, Casey’s phone rings, but she ignores it.  Everything stops as her BFF, Reggie (Kortus) sings “the Bailout Song #1”.  He’s not pleased she didn’t take his call.  As the evening progresses, Reggie calls again and again, getting increasingly hysterical (and hysterically funny) as she continues to ignore his calls.

At some point, Aaron admits that he’d googled Casey before their date.  She hadn’t done a search on him, but pulls out her phone immediately and gets started.  As they’re both staring at their phones, her sister and his friend are reading – and commenting – over their shoulders.  While carrying signs with the logos of everyone’s favorite social media sites, the entire cast sings a tribute to social media, “The World Wide Web Is Forever”.

When Aaron and Casey discover they might actually be enjoying themselves, they decide to have dinner.  She wants a burger, he wants a salad; so of course, she orders a salad, he orders a ‘manly’ burger.  While they’re waiting for the food, Casey plays the ‘friend’ card, Aaron gets all huffy.  They can’t leave without a check, which is when the waiter decides to it’s time for his number, “I’d Order Love”.

Kudos to Music Director Napat Mingkwanyuen who takes a few licks when Reggie gets REALLY hysterical!

“First Date” runs through July 16th.  Next up, “Tenderly” July 20th through 30th; followed by “Parallel Lives” August 4th through 6th.  Performances are scheduled on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 2:00 pm; Fridays at 8:00 pm; and Saturdays at 6:30 pm.  Tickets are $15 for matinees, $16 for evenings.  Canterbury Theatre is located at 807 Franklin Street, Michigan City.  Street parking is widely available.  FYI (219) 874-4269 or www.canterburytheatre.org.

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