Saturday, July 30, 2011

Dinner at the theatre: not just for retirees and Sunday afternoons

I think there's a stereotype that says dinner theatre is generally horrible, and the demographic that attends this type of entertainment tends to be geriatric in nature. I recall a scene from one of my childhood favourite movies, Soap Dish, where Kevin Klein's character, a fallen-from-grace-soap-actor is stuck doing Death of a Salesman in Florida and has to yell his lines so the hearing-aid wearing crowd can hear him. This image, I'm glad to say, bares no resemblance to our experience at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre last Thursday night. We were definitely at the younger end of the crowd, but both the food and acting were quite good. As I believe I indicated in a previous post, we won the tickets in the silent auction fundraiser held as a part of Firefly Theatre's Let There Be Height show.

We arrived at the theatre shortly after 6:00 pm and joined the crowd waiting to get in. After a couple of minutes of standing in line we were shown to our seats, a semi-circular booth located on stage right. We had a pretty good, straight on view to the stage, although still three or four rows back. There were no curtains to hide the stage, so we were able to pre-appraise the set, which I think we both approved. It was multi-layered, with a set double set of steps leading to a platform in the back half of the stage. It was made up to look like a swanky hotel with funky metal wall hangings, a collage of mirrors and not only a chaise longue, but a shiny gold, round ottoman too.

At any rate, this was shortly after 6:00 pm and we still had 2 hours before the show started so we hit the buffet. It's been a long time since I've eaten at a buffet--which is a probably a good thing since I love to eat and buffet's definitely encourage eating. The salad bar had an excellent variety from standard lettuce salads, to potato salads, chickpea salads, chilled veggies in vinaigrette-type dressings, there was also sushi, smoked salmon, and shrimp. We also helped ourselves to cheese from the desert table at this point (people were scooping up deserts at this time too). The hot food also varied, with several different types of meat, although I opted for the vegetarian mushroom ravioli, roast veggies, and potatoes. I was s little disappointed with desert, but only because I wished I'd picked more of the best (in my mind at least) selections, and left the just 'okay' treats behind.

The evenings performance was a 2-actor play called Sexy Laundry about a couple who'd lost the 'spark' in their marriage and had booked a night in a fancy hotel to try to get it back. It featured Eddie Mekka who was a regular on the show Laverne and Shirley (I'm aware the show existed, but I'm pretty sure I've never seen more than 5 minutes of it) and as it turns out, he was an excellent actor. The play, I believe, was billed as a comedy, and there certainly were a number of funny bits, but I actually found it quite touching and at times a little heartbreaking as the couple acknowledged that neither were happy with the way their lives had evolved (or devolved?) into. Sometimes things struck close to home as Andrew and I have had discussions about happiness, what it means and how we can have more of it in our lives. It's on going subject that we haven't found the answer to yet.

During the course of an hour and a half the couple, Alice and Henry (I think, I can't remember his name for sure), managed to wade their way through various suggestions on how to reconnect with each other physically (via 'Sex for Dummies'). They tried to tell each other fantasies (Henry's first attempt turned out to be a monologue on how he comes how from a rewarding day at the office, is greeted at home by his loving family--included a fully covered daughter--a delicious dinner, and curling up in bed with a good book, his wife at his side--I thought it was pretty hilarious), come up with sexy nicknames, argue, discuss the 'D' word (divorce), nearly split, and finally realize they still truly love each other. I rather enjoyed it.

The new season at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre starts in September with a Beatles tribute. We're considering getting seasons tickets as at least 3 of the 5 shows intrigue us greatly...and the remaining 2 sound all right too. Plus, they're going through renos right now (I thought the theatre decor was fairly attractive and not horribly out of date, however...) so everything will be new and spiffy if we go again.



1 comment:

Lisa said...

I daw a dinner theatre do CSI Edmonton a couple years ago. It was hilarious. Always a good (cheesy) night out.