Last Saturday (March 5th, 2009) I went to see "Blind Date" by Rebecca Northan at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. After the show I wrote in Twitter:
"Just seen the Cabaret show Blind Date by Rebecca Northan and one improvised actor from her public. Very funny and nothing else. World Stage?"
As usual 140 words are not enough for covering a whole personal appreciation, but that's why I got a Blog and we're here.
Blind Date was a very funny cabaret show, a nice commercial and practical product, but not better than any other good cabaret show anywhere using people from the audience. The actress knows her job (comic improvisation) and it works well.
The premise is very simple: An actress, with her character constructed on a very simple personality basis and all her improvisation skills, plays with a very practical performance structure, a blind date with one person from the public (yes, exactly as many showmen do everywhere); so, during 90 minutes on stage she manages to be in different places and times with her scene-partner, a new one each night. It sounds delicious, full of comic potential, and of course practical, ingredients for a great success, as Blind Date has been for two years.
Then, my next personal appreciation, "but nothing else. World Stage?"
I don't think this is a theatrical production which deserves to be programmed into a festival as World Stage 2009-2010 has been till now: a group of very compromised and interesting theatrical productions with very high technical and artistic goals. Especially when a big part of Blind Date relies in an improvised actor from the public and the final result is only a simple comic effect, nothing else.
Sorry but I didn't learn anything else than the usual final sentences in any episode of comedy central's series, some wisdom words, in this case about the "real guy" the actress was working with.
Wherever you see Blind Date, its argument, its development of the story, its technical work, or the final result are no more than what you would expect from a nice and good cabaret show, entertainment, but not from a world quality theatrical production in the frame of an intended world theatrical festival.
It is the first time in my life I heard that in this kind of festival a "successful" production repeats in two years, not with the same director in a new production, not with the same cast with a new production, only the same work with extra time. That sounds weird.
My question is, in 2009-2010 Canadian Theatre (or theatre in Toronto) didn't have any new production (besides Necessary Angel's Hamlet) which deserved to be in a festival like World Stage? The rules of this festival are only based on "if the performance is very successful then you should program it again"?
I loved to be last Saturday night at the Bergantin Room inside the Harbourfront Centre, I enjoyed Rebecca Northan's performance a lot and how she worked her night partner, but I'm still thinking I payed for a world quality festival performance I didn't get.