Rebecca Northan's improv-based show about the vagaries of human intimacy is so good it may leave audiences yearning for a repeat fix.
Even before the audience piles into the tiny theater -- where they will be plied with complimentary wine and popcorn to the strains of mellow Gallic pop -- Mimi is cruising the crowd, seeking a substitute blind date for the 90-minute exploration to come. Prospective partners, whether single or already involved, deserve to be forewarned (not for nothing does the program come with an indemnity waiver). Alternately gentle and aggressive, discreet and disarmingly frank, Mimi will be probing any emotional baggage and untoward behavior that might prevent her chosen subject from achieving romantic fulfillment.
Mimi's choice on a recent evening, a 24-year-old named Steven was model-grade handsome but evidently unaware of that fact (a winning combination) and just a bit reticent -- he even professed a fear of appearing boring. However, Steven blossomed under Mimi's tutelage, ultimately proving quite the mensch.
Lesson number one -- requiring a "time out" in a side stage reserved for impromptu coaching sessions -- was: "We don't talk about the nose." Sure, she had solicited his assessment of her appearance, but in the real world, she pointed out, "Would you say, 'Your nose makes me uncomfortable'?"
That faux pas swiftly dealt with, she encouraged the audience to clap "when he does something really good." Cue the positive reinforcement -- and the rare opportunity, Mimi exulted, to help "mold" a man. Indeed, encouraged by Mimi's own personal revelations, this anything-but-boring guy eventually opened up enough to reveal a fearsome shark-bite scar he'd acquired while surfing. He also proved incredibly game when Mimi proposed a "Choose Your Own Adventure" twist to the story line.
It wouldn't do to reveal where their simulated romance ultimately led them, but rest assured: both Northan and Mimi are fully aware that coupledom is not always a bed of roses. The upshot was at once shockingly graphic and screamingly funny.