First Date – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

Few things are as fearful and potentially exciting as a blind first date. Well meaning friends or family have arranged the secret assignation and now you are poised at the front door of the coffee shop or restaurant, likely terrified to enter. Take courage, for the Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury has a check list and agenda of do’s and don’ts to help you survive with “First Date,” book by Austin Winsberg and music and lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner until Sunday, April 7.

Where else but on a first date can what seems to be a fairy tale fantasy so quickly become a nightmare horror film. You can go from the top of the mountains to the dangerous depths of the ocean within minutes of meeting. Initially he may look ultra conservative, over dressed and the opposite of cool. She may look borderline hostile, hip and annoyingly hot. Come meet Aaron (Constantine Pappas) and Casey (Christina Carlucci) and tag along with them as they try to survive their “first date.”

Aaron, a recently burned, twice shy, three times a nice guy, has reluctantly appeared at a trendy New York eatery to meet his fix up date. He is initially overwhelmed by Casey, an in-your-face female with lots of experience with first dates but rarely advances to date number two. Unfortunately it is almost instant hate at first sight, a situation exacerbated when Aaron discovers Casey is not of the Jewish persuasion and her father appears with Bible in hand and sermon ready to deliver.

The pair are protected or persuaded or perplexed by a Greek chorus of “helpers” who sing and dance around them hoping to steer them in the right direction, to romance. Anna Laura Strider, Ethan Kirschbaum, Carly Valancy, Niko Touros and James Donohue humorously play a wide variety of parts from parents, sister, future son, old flames and waiter. These confrontational allies and advisers persuade Aaron and Casey not to bail out, but stick with the game plan of getting to know each other more than what they learned by googling and give themselves a fighting chance.

Clearly they each arrive with baggage, especially the steamer trunk Aaron drags along stuffed with his ex-fiancee. By the time the evening is over, there is a distinct glimmer of hope on the horizon. As we look for our soul mates, it’s easy to kiss a few frogs along the way. Songs like “First Impression,””The Girl For You,” “Safer” and “I’d Order Love” help pave the way. Sasha Brett clearly has a lot of fun directing this talented troop as they explore many of the rules and challenges of the love game.

For tickets ($39.50-49.50), call Seven AngelsTheatre, 1 Plank Road,Waterbury at 203-757-4676 or online at Performances are Thursday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Come root for Aaron and Casey to make it to dessert as their first date travels from horror to happy, disaster to dream, as they discover if each is destined to be “the one.”