Love is in the air at Baycourt!

Wednesday 14 October 2020


As a self-confessed single bachelor with about as much dating experience as the 40-year-old virgin, I was hoping the Stage Right Trust's performance of 'First Dates' would be the perfect 'dating for dummies' guide. Well, not only was I enlighted, but I was also blown away by talent displayed from the small cast of seven! 

This isn't your typical west-end musical, and it was refreshing to see such vibrancy from a talented and somewhat young cast. 

The First Date show takes the audience through the first meeting of Casey (Ashleen Fahy) and Aaron (Matt Henderson), two New York City singles set up by friends and family. The two have nothing in common with Aaron being a conservative Jewish banker who is looking for a meaningful relationship. Casey is an artist, a shiksa and little too funky for Wall Street. Their First Date seemed to be doomed from the start. 

Matt Henderson (Left) & Ashleen Fahy (Right) Photo: Rouge Media

Each actor is worth noting, but standouts include Ashleen Fahy and Matt Henderson. The comedic timing of each is impeccable, and their acting chops are undeniable. Ashleen never seems to disappoint when she graces the stage, her vocals soared and she knows how to capture an audience. Matt knows how to put on a show and get the crowd going with his witty humour, bubbly personality and well-tuned vocals.

Being a cast of only 7, it's always hard to play more than one character and do each one justice. It wasn't much trouble for this lot! With almost everyone (bar the two leads) playing more than one character and giving just as much commitment as the last character. 

Tiffany Wilkinson. Photo: Rouge Media

Tiffany Wilkinson played a range of characters. More notably, the bitchy, blue balling ex (not my words). Tiffany had some standout moments and her singing was as masterful as her acting. 

Bailey Hockings most memorable moments in this show were him as Reggie, or as we know him as the 'Bail Out'. I looked forward to his over the top and hilarious performance, he even busted out some pretty impressive hip hop moves.

Callum Thorburn and Melissa Nicolson were other highlights of the night, giving the crowd a good chuckle. Finally, the barman himself, Jaden McLoed. Getting his very own hilarious solo, that was his time to shine!

The set, designed by Matthew Henderson and installed by Dale Henderson, was fantastic. The stage was being utilised at almost every point. The backstage crew worked effortlessly to pull off a fantastic single set change.

The costumes, designed by Marlise Hughes and director Toni Henderson, were on point too. Casey rocked the badass 'don't take nothing from anybody' look with her red and black fishnet stockings and slick leather dress. 

The lighting and sound topped it all off. Soft Pink lights washed the stage during more tender moments and harsh Red colour complimented the more sinister moments. Not a single pop, fuzz or crackle on the mics from the sound team either. Kudos to Dale Henderson, Kees Fransen for lighting and James Taylor and Jacqui Stephens for sound!