FIRST DATE THE MUSICAL Do you remember the first time?

First Date The Musical is set to unlock those stored memories of your awkward ‘dating days’, as it welcomes you to witness the very real cringe and awkwardness as a blind date plays out in realtime. Adapted from a book written by Gossip Girl writer and producer Austin Winsberg, the show is bought to Perth under the direction of Lorna Mackie, who spoke to MICHAEL HOLLICK. The show is on at the WA Maritime Museum from January 31 to February 3, as part of Fringe World. 

The title of this show, particularly for a Fringe Show, is actually quite informative. Can you give me a few more details on what the show is actually about?

The story follows the blind date of Casey and Aaron, who having been set up my mutual friends and family, are meeting for the first time in a busy restaurant. In real time, the audience witnesses the blind date. Along the way, there are insights into both Casey and Aaron’s minds, with other actors bringing to life past memories and figments of their imaginations. At it’s core, the show is a send up of modern dating and addresses a range of issues such as manipulative exes, protective parent, bailout calls, media and technology.

What kind of a musical is it? Should I expect classic Broadway styled tunes or are there more contemporary-styled numbers?

The show has a range of styles, including contemporary musical theatre, classic Broadway, rock, disco and Bonnie Tyler ballads. It’s supported by an incredible live band who can handle anything that the show can throw at them!

What attracted you to this script?

I love contemporary musical theatre, and I adore shows that are self aware with no fourth wall, something this show has in abundance. I also love scripts which feel intimate and which the audience feel a part of. Coupled with the incredible writing by Austin Winberg, I couldn’t pass the opportunity to put this show on.

Who is starring in the show? And where might we have seen them before?

Our leads, Aaron and Casey, are played by Tom Hutton and Cassie Skinner. Both received nominations for Best Actor and Best Actress respectively at the ITA Finley for these roles during the last run of the show. Mitch Lawrence (a previous Best Actor award winner for his role in King Arthur in Spamalot) and Helen Kerr (a recent Best Actress nominee for her portrayal of Roxie in Koorlinny Theatre’s Chicago). Therese Cruise plays Grandma Ida and a number of supporting roles, and you may recognise her as a singer with Mama Red and the Dark Blues. And we can’t forget our featured dancers and performers James Hyson, Jason Nathan and Arianne Westcott-King.

And finally, are there any examples of things in the script that clicked with your own personal experiences of dates? If so, what were these?

Actually, I have never experienced the modern dating world! I was lucky enough to meet my partner at 17, a LOOOONG time ago, well before tinder! However, I live vicariously through friends and I think anyone that has had experience of bad dates will sympathise.