First Date – The Musical

I never thought I would say this but… I have found a musical that I really love. Normally I walk out of musicals thinking, well that was nice if it wasn’t for all the unnecessary singing, but not this time. In fact, I’m pretty sure that somebody went undercover, stalked my life and then wrote a show about it. A glorious show.

First Date (directed by Mark Taylor) is showing at Chapel off Chapel. I have never been there before but will certainly go there again.  Any place that lets me take my whisky into the theatre instantly goes on my approved list. As a designer I rejoiced in the simple but modern set design (and the fact that they had a REAL coffee cart on stage). The lighting was superb and the integration of the band into the scene was masterful. We walked in and literally felt like we were about to have dinner on Flinders Lane.

The premise is simple. Two people are set up on a blind date: Aaron – the classic nice guy (good job, good manners, good references) and Casey – the arty Melbourne type (sassy, quirky and hopelessly attracted to bad boys.). They meet at a hip bar in Fitzroy and DO NOT hit it off. On first impression (insert hilarious song about first impressions) they are about as suited as a Chihuahua and an Irish Wolfhound. He is a self-proclaimed blind date virgin and I *cough* I mean Casey, is a seasoned dating veteran. Because of this I, I mean she, approaches dating with a suitable amount of cynicism and straight away categorises Aaron as the boring career type who has never gone beyond the missionary position. Aaron has his preconceptions too though and almost immediately decides that she is not for him. These thoughts are expressed through musical numbers performed by the people weighing in on their thoughts. There is Casey’s sister, who set her up, with constant exclamations of ‘give him a go!’, ‘why do you self-sabotage?’ and ‘he could make you happy!’. Well how do you know that, Casey’s sister, HOW DO YOU KNOW? You know nothing, Casey’s sister. I digress. Anyway people weighing in: sisters, ex-partners, best friends, parents and therapists (blablabla commitment issues, blablabla $200 please). The songs are fresh and clever. There was one about awkward silences that was so accurate I wanted to go and hug people. Towards the end of the evening we find out a few things about these two that go beyond just the superficial and the true depth and vulnerability of the dating process is revealed: The many heartbreaks, disappointments and fears that consistently drive and inhibit us in making meaningful connections.

Of course I took a date to see it and I’m not sure what he thought when I exclaimed ‘OMG that is SO my life’ when the part came up where Aaron discovers that she is not Jewish and therefore clearly not a long-term prospect (Jewish men of Melbourne – throw a girl a bone!). The fact that we walked out of the musical still in good spirits is a testament to how well handled the subject matter was. The two protagonists were perfectly suited to their parts and the 5 actors who represented various subconscious personas as well as café staff and guests we incredibly versatile and all-round fabulous. As for the singing: well without the songs the show wouldn’t work and wouldn’t be nearly as funny. This is how musicals should be.

Do yourself a favour and buy tickets now.

First Date – The Musical is showing until 11 September 2016 at Chapel off Chapel

– Claudia
Claudia B. is a German/Kiwi graphic designer and illustrator who has been living and working in Melbourne for the last four years. She enjoys a good glass of whiskey and the occasional pole dancing class.

Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of First Date – The Musical.