If we’re being honest, the premise of a blind date is pretty awful. Meeting a stranger, probably for a drink (because a little bit of alcohol is the only way to make this survivable), hoping the whole time you’re romantically, or otherwise, compatible, because that’s the only reason you’ve changed out of your sweatpants. Welcome to Silo’s The Blind Date Project.
The Basement’s main stage is unrecognizable as a fully functioning bar, courtesy of Celery Productions. The Karaoke Klub has beer on tap, a crowd of tables for customers (audience members), and old-school karaoke jams. Each night, Anna (Natalie Medlock) waits at the bar for her date, but who’s showing up is anyone’s guess. With a revolving cast of possible Tinder matches (actors), neither Natalie, nor the audience, know who’s coming through the door.
Director Tanya Goldberg leads the actors through out the show via live text messages and phone calls, shaping the performance from the perspective of the audience. Apart from this, the hour-long show is entirely improvised, with a few set talking points- porn, and a herb edition of ‘fuck, marry, kill’ are mainstays, along with Bryony Skillington as the surly hostess/karaoke queen.
On opening night Jamie Bowen plays the part of mystery date. He’s only just walked in the door and Anna’s already rating him on a 0-10 scale- he’s late so he just lost a point, but he bought her flowers so he’s up a point again, except he’s left the price tag on from the petrol station, so he’s back where he started. The vodka shots flow and Bowen’s initial playfulness unravels, revealing a deep, dark, resentment of his surprise 5-year-old daughter, who keeps calling every few minutes. Anna didn’t sign up for someone with so much baggage, and such a bad attitude, and the date is heading for a grisly end. It’s been a tempestuous night- from ridiculous karaoke renditions, to belligerent drunken discourse, but Medlock and Bowen rescue the date back from the edge and depart together looking for the Holy Grail of after hour drunks- Denny’s (for the pancakes).
The Blind Date Project is undeniably authentic, and especially suitable for anyone who enjoys a pastime in people watching. The anticipation of what could happen next (answer: anything) makes up for any slower moments, which are far outweighed by some truly clever one liners, and a whole lot of laughing out loud anyway. Each night is entirely different, but that’s all part of the fun.
The Blind Date project plays at The Basement until November 29th. Get a ticket, grab a drink, and start swiping right for a date, or two.
All Imagery // Andrew Malmo