Monday, September 19, 2016



photo of Julie Orton and  David Benjamin Tomlinson by Tanja-Tiziana

“I shrieked with laughter… This show is a don’t miss, even if you’ve seen it before.”
                 -Paula Citron, Classical 93.6FM

“A perfect marriage of theatre and comedy”
                                                                        -Now Magazine

A must-see performance … the theatrical equivalent of walking a tightrope.

                              -The Calgary Sun

“One of the most daring and exhilarating undertakings in the scope of contemporary theatre.”

“Do you believe in love at first sight? I do, because I once spent 90 minutes under the spell of Rebecca Northan. I’m willing to wager that no matter who this gifted woman selects by chance from the audience, the end result is likely to contain the same mixture of uproarious laughter, honest sexuality and genuine emotion… a flight of theatrical fancy that is absolutely magical.”
-The Toronto Star

“It’s a risky thing to do…. it wasn’t an ordinary evening. It made me want to see the show again. Each evening is unique because there’s a different date every night.”
                 -Mooney on Theatre

“Very funny”
                        -The New York Times

SEPT 20 - OCT 9

“Irresistible…a cheeky and charming evening.”
— New York Daily News


There’s nothing like the thrill of a first date… anything can happen! In this reimagined version of Rebecca Northan’s smash hit play, the saucy Mimi and the handsome Mathieu take turns finding love with a  different person every night – plucked right from the audience. 

Following sold out runs across North America, this fast and funny fusion of improv, theatre, and clown takes its first-ever journey into queer romance to welcome a whole new community of romantic heroes that will have you falling in love every night.

Performed for the very first time with queer couples, this Blind Date celebrates and explores the peculiarities of queer romance. Our sexy French clowns revel in our quirky queerness in a way that is sure to make you fall in love with them and their audience-member-turned-romantic-hero.

Performers Julie Orton and David Benjamin Tomlinson take turns in the starring role. Check the schedule online at Buddies In Bad Times website to see who’s performing when.

RN As a team, we've worked closely with Evalyn Parry to identify any moments from the original Blind Date that might not play the same for a Queer audience. We've kicked at the structure looking for places to tweak here and there, we have had the most illuminating conversations about how what might work in a heterosexual context takes on a different meaning, often in terms of power dynamics, in a homosexual context. In a number of places - the narrative structure remains the same, or quite others, as a cast, with great input from Julie Orton and David Tomlinson, we have some very exciting bits up our sleeves that I will be on the edge of my seat waiting for.

The core thesis of Blind Date has ALWAYS been "everyone is loveable" - this is not something that changes for a queer audience. I hold fast to that. Humans want and need to connect with each other. I am never bored watching two strangers tentatively reach out, in their own ways, in an effort to get to know each other. I have also always maintained that at its core, Blind Date is a very cleverly packaged interview show. We are not bringing people up on stage to make fun of them - quite the opposite. It is the clown's job to ask questions (at the same time revealing themselves) and slowly uncover a stranger's that by the end of the show, the whole audience loves this stranger. 

DB Are you still doing the pre show 'meet and greet' element and if so how do you both approach this, and are you looking for particular qualities in an audience member?

RN YES! This part of the process is essential. The cast are looking to get a feel for who is in the audience, and who might be interested and/or willing to participate. The rule of thumb is, "If you were at a cocktail party - WHO did you meet in the lobby that you'd want to get to know better?" Qualities we look for are: someone who is open, friendly, a little bit playful, or delightfully shy - but game. We NEVER invite someone on stage who clearly does not want to participate. 

DB And, will you both always select a participant according to your own sex/gender identities, not to assume these identities are fixed at all times, but can we expect a 'straight' exchange and a 'queer' exchange from each performer?

RN I don't anticipate a "straight" exchange...but, it IS improv - anything CAN and HAS happened in the past! The idea is to keep opening, opening, opening up to infinite possibilities! So long as MORE LOVE is being brought to the table!!!

JO Well, as Rebecca said, the driving force of the show is the notion that everyone is
lovable. Everyone has a "romantic hero" inside of them, regardless of gender identity or
sexuality. For me, adding a queer element gives me the opportunity to contribute to
something that I aggressively yearn for as an audience member, which is a story and
"characters" that I, as a queer woman, can directly identify with. As Mimi, it gives me the
opportunity to tell my stories, ALL my stories, as they happened without omitting key
elements or changing the pronoun of the characters in the story. Simply, what we're doing
by "queering" Blind Date, is studying and appreciating the structure and boundaries of this
iconic show and finding opportunities to transcend them in a positive and
celebratory way. 

DB Are you still doing the pre show 'meet and greet' element and if so how do you both
approach this, and are you looking for particular qualities in an audience member?

JO Of course we are! The pre show meet and greet is essential since it affords us the
opportunity to get to know our audience and who out there may be a playful and willing date.
When I mingle as Mimi, i'm looking for someone who isn't immediately nervous at the sight
of me...i'm sort of kidding, but not really. Those folks that get bright eyes as you approach
and enjoy chatting and laughing with you are usually the ones who stay on my radar. And no
less important is the partner of the potential date (should they have one). If, at any time, the
partner seems uncomfortable by the prospect of their person being onstage with a french
clown, we will keep looking. We never want to make anyone uncomfortable or isolated by
this experience, whether they're are chosen as a date or whether their date is chosen as a
date. Basically, the rule of thumb is, if this were a cocktail party, who would you want to
camp out in the corner and chat with all night?

DB  And, will you both always select a participant according to your own sex/gender
identities, not to assume these identities are fixed at all times, but can we expect a 'straight'
exchange and a 'queer' exchange from each performer?

JO Well, i'll never say never, but this run at Buddies will primarily be a queer adventure.