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  • Kimberly Laberge

Dating made less daunting at LCP


First impressions, awkward pauses, and God forbid, the horror that is the check... First dates can be the path towards something magical, or something truly disastrous. Luckily for us, the Wisconsin premiere of First Date at Lake Country Playhouse acts as a road map through all the dos and don'ts of romance.

The company of Lake Country Playhouse's First Date at Beer Snobs.

This modern comedy follows serial dater Casey and BDV (blind date virgin) Aaron as they each unintentionally sabotage their chances at finding true love. Exes? They go there. Kids? You bet. Religion? You see the pattern here.

Ella Folkerts and Danny Slattery.

Thankfully, the bar is also filled with a slew of men and women who step in during desperate times, taking form as parents, friends, siblings, and exes to set the wayward lovers straight. Danny Slattery, most notably, brings on roars of laughter every time he transforms into Casey's overbearing bff Reggie.

Kiera Matthews and Matt Ragalie, as Casey and Aaron respectively, begin cold and uncomfortable. Matthews easily steps into Casey's hardened shell, and Ragalie's floundering is tangible. However, with the help of the vibrant ensemble, the audience experiences the warmth of the pair as their walls slowly come down.

While Andrea Klohn's scenic design feels as if it aimed for minimalistic but landed on low-budget, the atmosphere maintained by the company still feels like a nuanced tableau of dating in a public space. Gentle shifts in Jake Koch's lighting help to imply the contrast between inner thought and real time.

Ami Majeskie's direction on this quirky piece feels fresh and organic. The show comes with the built in challenge of a cast of seven representing a couple's complete history, together and as individuals. However, the execution is seamless, and punchlines roll one straight into the next. Before you know it, the humor has transitioned into something much more tender and vulnerable.

Kiera Matthews and Matt Ragalie.

Generalization: first dates tend to be terrible. But, the real question is, can a terrible date turn around and lead to something more? Are some people simply beyond compatibility? Majeskie's First Date handles the subject with ease, and provides a hilarious and surprisingly heartfelt story in a compact 90 minutes. Catch it at Lake Country Playhouse through July 22nd!

#lakecountryplayhouse #firstdate