October 3, 2011

My Big Day Downtown: Trying Something New

So you remember last year, I wrote this post about my big day downtown? It was part of an initiative of the Downtown Halifax Business Commission. Local bloggers were recruited to have some fun downtown Halifax and then come back and tell all you lovelies about our day.

This year, I was lucky enough to do this again, only with the stipulation that I try something new. And that's exactly what I did!

I've been living in Halifax for just about 10 years now. I spent the better part of that time actually working in downtown Halifax. And I would walk by Petrie's Halifax Feast Dinner Theatre just about every other day. I always saw the sign out on Salter Street and had always heard about it through friends and co-workers. So I thought, 'This is my big chance!'. I've always wanted to go and this was a great opportunity to check it out.

I called up the box office and explained it was my first show. The lady on the other end of the phone was super friendly and took my reservation quickly and easily. I thought I would bring my husband and make a date night out of it, to say thank you for all the hard work he's been doing building my new sewing studio! (More on that soon, very exciting!) So we were booked in for Saturday night. When I told my Mom we were going, besides being jealous, she asked "Is Darren going to be into that sort of thing?" Well, yes. Because the show that's currently playing is called 'Spree'. Like 'Glee', only different. And let's face it, Darren is a complete Gleek!

There's a parking lot conveniently just across the street, so no need to fuss around trying to get a decent park space. And I was happy for that because we were having typical Halifax rainy, blustery weather.

When we got inside, we were greeted by a friendly gal who took our names and then had 'Skin Mudson' show us to our table. I later started piecing it together that these nice people were actually the cast who were doubling as the wait staff. I'm still sort of in shock at this. Because they're singing their hearts out, dancing their pants off, acting and bobbing around, and then swiftly jump off the stage to the kitchen where they then switch to server mode. Unbelievable! And throughout the night it became apparent that we would meet every single one of the cast members as they keep trading up tables to serve food and drinks. Pretty cool.

So not only was I completely astounded at that, but to top it off, I noticed that they kept taking turns playing the backup music for all the musical numbers. Sometimes it was 'Mercedes Johnson' played by the very talented Sarah Richardson at the keyboards (and this girl can sing!), and then you'd see Skin Mudson (Sean O'Brien) or Bill Schuman (Stephane Gaudet) over at the drum set. Amazing. Singing. Dancing. Serving. Playing instruments. That's some crazy talent. And above all, you can tell they are enjoying every minute of it and are loving what they do. The show was fast paced and seriously funny (my cheeks were numb from smiling and laughing!). The music was awesome and the harmonies were really great. We were impressed!

This is me and my new friend 'Burt Bummel' (Kurt Hummel's counterpart), played by Vianney Aubrecht. Burt claimed he wasn't trying to steal Darren, but he was awfully friendly with him ;)
Amazing singer, amazing dancer!

We also got to meet 'Dru Sylibble' played by Bev Butler and 'Fay Ray' played by Hannah King. These ladies will make you laugh! Belly laughs. Other talented cast members included Joshua Law and Victoria Ryan.

Let's talk food! I have to say, for the price of our tickets, you really get a great deal. If you were to go out for dinner and drinks for the night, you would spend the same amount, minus the entertainment. So for the price of our tickets, we got a starter salad and fresh baked bread, a choice of 6 entrees, so there's something for everyone (we had the steak which was really yummy but my favorite part of the meal was the garlic mashed potatoes prepared by Chef Joel Estabrooks), and then a triple brownie dessert with raspberry sauce, whipped cream and berries (drool!). And the show!

I cannot say enough about how friendly and accommodating these folks were. Even though they were bouncing in and out of the kitchen directly from the stage (and in character all the while!), they were happy and the service was excellent!

The space is a perfect size so it's an intimate atmosphere and everyone is relatively close to the action. They even had a few audience members up on stage at one point dancing, that's fun. As long as it's not me! (shy). But everyone seemed to enjoy it.

Overall, our Big Day Downtown to see 'Spree' at the Halifax Feast Dinner Theatre was a success and I would certainly go back to see another show. You can see 'Spree' until November 2011. There's a complete calender for the 2011 season here. This would be something ideal to take your folks to when they're in town for the holiday season too.

It's so nice to see people are working hard in Halifax to contribute to the arts and keep live, interactive entertainment alive. Jim Petrie's Dinner Theatre is celebrating a milestone this year. 25 years in theatre! Congratulations and I hope they will continue to make great entertainment for many years to come!

Thanks again to the DHBC for the opportunity to review a little piece of what Downtown Halifax has to offer! You can see a complete directory on their website. So if you're looking, check out Downtown Halifax, they're sure to have a little bit of everything.

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