Thursday 20 November 2014

Date Night at the Feast

Let's talk about date night. Date night for those of you who are unmarried folk is a rare and cosmic-like event that occurs once in a eon-esque age in your marriage. Particularly apres children, the likeliness of date night occurs with the frequency of a meteor shower or the sighting of a Kardashian's common sense. It's rare bitches, it won't get better, you won't have a set date once a month, it doesn't get easier.....own that.

Never more rare has a sans spawn night happened than since we have found ourselves in a new province with no friends, family or homeless people to bribe with Lysol to watch our children. The fates somehow aligned tonight for the baby daddy and I to have a night out. Now, I'm not a picky wife. I don't care if we go to a five course dinner or if we go bowling. Both sound fun to me. However, Trev's work was hosting an event at the local dinner theatre and I have to be honest, I rolled my eyes.

Dinner theatre, historically, sucks. Like suuuucks. Sucks like a bear attack when you are drenched in fish sauce. It sucks. It's awful. The acting is always trite, the plots so thin, you could bust it apart with a strong puff of disappointment and the food? Good lord, the food would make a blind, deaf imprisoned seagull turn up it's nose. I have been to some dinner theatres that make you want stab yourself in the eye. Think I'm exaggerating? Picture it, Tina Yothers, ( you might remember her as the oddly heavy, awkward useless younger sister in 'Family Ties'. She only said the quirky lines in response to MJ Fox's perfectly timed ones.) as the iconic Sandra Dee in a non-musical rendition of Grease. It was hands down, the longest, most harrowing, arduous three hours of my life. I found the 'keepsake' etched wine glasses in my Mom's apartment after she passed away. It was disturbing.

And I know my theatre, I love my theatre. I have scripts of plays in my library, I have seen some of the best musicals and independents from front row centre and I know my shit. If my husband really wanted to impress me, he would find an indie  hole in the wall theatre showing 'Death of a Salesman' or 'The Dollhouse'. However, he has basically baby trapped me and doesn't need to impress me anymore. He impresses me when he puts his underwear in the hamper.

So when he told me that we were going to a dinner theatre, I sighed. I wished we could beg off and go get drunk on Spring Garden Road so we wouldn't waste the babysitter.

I say this more rarely than date night....I was wrong.

The Feast Dinner Theatre in Halifax is a rare and wonderful gem in a spectrum of mediocre and downright horrific dinner theatres. We were greeted by our server Page Beauchamp whom we quickly discovered was one of the actors who served us in character. Actually, all the servers were the actors, which was fantastic. They stayed in character the entire time and it was hilarious. Page handled my Celiacs like a pro. She clarified what my concerns were, then darted off to the chef to check it and then darted back to tell me what I could or could not have. I decided on the bacon wrapped scallops for an appy (amazing) and the maple glazed salmon for an entree. For dessert, "Page" (whose real name was Savanna) offered me fresh sliced strawberries for dessert. The meal was good, really good actually. The salmon was a hair dry, but flavorful and tender. The mash potatoes were well seasoned and the peas, were pretty good. The strawberries were delightful and throughout it, the service and the show was beyond entertaining.

The show playing was a "Merry Maritime Christmas". I like to bitch and whine about things but I really can't find anything bad to say about this show. It was bloody entertaining. Granted, there were some maritime jokes that went over our Alberta heads, (I assume you don't want to marry people from somewhere called Meat Cove? No shit, It's called Meat Cove, What they hell happens in the preschools at a place called Meat Cove?) But they were still funny jokes. Like, laugh out load, mouth wide open, slam hand on leg, funny jokes. It was brilliantly written, like a whole series of SNL routines lined up one after the other, The characters that in any other show would be considered stereotypical, were played so well that they were heartwarming. They reminded you of your own family. You see your grandma and your aunts and your goofy cousin who never has his shirt tucked in right. It was charming and funny and delightful.

Then there is the music. Normally, these things are weakly, tone deafly, sung to a shitty track with an 80's high hat beat to them. Not so at the Halifax Feast. The actors are talented. Let me clarify that. They are SICK talented with voices that make you stop and whisper 'shut the fuck up' to the guy next to you. Any accompaniment was played by the actors themselves who rotated through the instruments, it was amazing. The song choices varied from traditional Christmas carols sung in 5 part harmony to 'Shake it off' by our server Page who nailed it while her 'grandfather' danced like a fly girl behind her. Their 'O Holy Night' had everyone sitting, silently, enraptured and teary eyed at the beauty of it.

More than once we wondered, 'why aren't these people famous'? Why aren't they on Broadway? Because they are really that good, that professional, that talented. Meanwhile, they finish belting and dancing to race to the back and appear again with aprons and trays of food all while staying in character. The effort that these people put into my date night was more than either of us has ever considered putting into it.

It was a delightful surprise and I loved every second of it. So for you Haligonians (or people from Meat Cove so you can explain that joke to me) go see the Christmas show at Halifax Feast Dinner Theatre. By the time they get a new show, I will most likely be hankering for another date night.

Meanwhile, Calgary, enjoy the prison-like buffet and Tina Yothers musical rendition of 'Waiting for Godot'.....shudder.