This week, Pipedream Productions bring First Date the Musical to the stage of the Doncaster Playhouse. The show is still relatively new to Australia, having only been done in Victoria a few times. Theatre People spoke to the cast and crew of the show ahead of its short season opening this week.
Maddie Wooster was lucky enough to be in New York while the show was playing on Broadway, but she instead chose to see a preview of Little Big Fish instead of First Date.
“Once I came home started listening to the show a lot and regretted my decision. It’s such a fun and funny show, highly relatable and relevant. ‘Safer’ was always my favourite song so I feel very lucky that I get to sing it” she said.
Wooster plays Casey Clark, who is set up on a blind date with Aaron.
“She is a highly relatable character, especially for me, who is currently single and in the dating scene. Sometimes this show hits more than just a little close to home”.
This is a one act show, which performers and audiences can often find exhausting. For director Nathan Storen, he feels the one act show runs similarly to a sitcom with music to aid the story.
“Having the show all set in the one location without scene changes has been a bit of a challenge as it involves having to create a restaurant setting, and to have the action in the show constantly be stimulating to the audience, not having any parts lacking” he said.
“It aids in the set up of a first date too, allowing the audience to see a glimpse into a possible blooming relationship and they can leave thinking about whether it will be a relationship that will last”.
For Wooster, she finds you have to be ‘on’ for the whole hour and a half without break.
“It’s the second one act show I’ve done and although it is great for audiences as it’s short and sweet, as a performer within my role it is a little exhausting. My character is on stage for the majority of the show without leaving the stage with a lot of dialogue” she said.
Merryn Degnan is both choreographer and a member of the cast, and first heard of the show when their now lighting designer played the music for her.
“It’s such a fun, light hearted show, and being snappy and short makes it much more entertaining than a long winded drawn out story-line. With such a small cast where everyone plays so many little roles, we all hardly get to leave the stage, which makes it such a fun show for everyone involved” she said.
“Having not seen the show before myself, it has been great to be able to create our own show without being influenced by other people’s ideas or having any preconceived ideas about how it should be done”.
“It’s quite nice to be doing a show that is still new to Australia, as it allows audiences to come to a musical that they haven’t seen/know little about and be entertained with a story that is fresh to them. The show itself is a show that doesn’t have many strict staging instructions unlike some other shows” said Storen on the few previous productions of the show that have been done.
Degnan says she can’t wait to share with the audience the individual spin each member of the cast has added to the choreography.
“It’s more about having fun and giving the audience a laugh rather than your typical precise, regimented choreography. I can’t wait for the audience to see everyone’s hilarious quirks and individual styles”
For Storen, his favourite part of the rehearsal process so far has been doing full runs of the show.
“I’m getting to see the show come together before walking into the theatre which is a great opportunity. I’ve also been enjoying growing closer to people I have worked with before, and making connections with people through this show” he said.
“I’m looking forward to the audience just connecting with the characters and the situations on stage. This show allows has such funny/awkward moments that actually happen on dates; ones that I have personally dealt with and members of the cast have too”.
“The show is very funny, modern, relatable and relevant to anybody who has ever been on a first date. Anyone who has ever been in the dating scene will definitely get a few knowing laughs from the show” says Wooster.
Catch First Date at the Doncaster Playhouse for four shows only – Thursday 16 to Saturday 18 February. Tickets at: https://chook.as/pipedream-productions/first-date