A Friday night in February, Valentine’s Day, to be precise, and dinner with a play! What luck that the Anchor folks invited me to attend! I had no idea that the Stage West people loved Valentine’s Day so much, they had decorated the theatre with balloon bouquets, yes, pink and red hearts were floating everywhere! Each table was decked out with vases containing pink roses, accompanied by chocolate covered strawberries to round out the table decorations. Our waiter, Wayne (Wayne the Waiter as he came to be known) told us not to forget to take our roses and vases home with us, a special treat! Media night is made up of a different sort of audience, as often you are seated with other “reviewers” – our table mates were an interesting couple who had spent most of their lives in the Calgary area, which was great fun as we remembered so many things in common about the area, and they both remembered Chestermere in the olden days just as we do! Even better, just before we started making our many trips to the buffet tables, one of the actresses in the play dropped by our table, as she had been interviewed earlier by one of our new found friends. Her name was Valerie Boyle and she told us that she had a bit part in the play. She was delightful and charming, and told us that the play we were about to see was good fun, for both the actors and the audience. I couldn’t help but think that the evening was getting off to such a great start!
On to the food! They just never disappoint, with such a huge selection it’s so hard to decide. My particular favorites this time were the peach melba chicken, the roasted fingerling potatoes with oregano and feta cheese, and the ricotta and sundried jumbo ravioli. I wish now that I had been brave enough to try the baked bread and yam pudding, but the salted caramel chocolate torte that I did choose was pretty awesome! There was a huge pink layer cake that I managed to feast on with only my eyes, English trifle, mini cheese cake squares – I wonder if one time it might be a good idea to try every dessert and nothing else, a tough decision I’ll make another day. All four of us thoroughly enjoyed our respective dinners, with no two even remotely the same!
The stage is set: two hotel rooms with an adjoining door. First we meet two charming but maybe not terribly smart cops, they are supposed to be undercover but one of them shows up in uniform! They are there to videotape what is about to happen in the next room; the mayor is to meet with a new city accountant who has some pretty serious questions. It seems as if the mayor has skimmed a huge amount of money from the city coffers, and the accountant works with the two cops planning how she will have the mayor incriminate himself on tape.
Of course, things become complicated in a big way when the mayor runs into the uniformed cop in the lobby, the accountant and the other cop realize that they are totally smitten with each other, the mayor’s security officer arrives to check the room, the accountant hardly ever has her clothes on, the most unusual hit man ever shows up, and the mayor’s wife keeps appearing in the middle of it all! We were treated to the most amazing translation/speech I have ever heard, delivered by the very talented Natascha Grigis (the lovable but very bumbley uniformed cop). There wasn’t a single sound in the entire theatre while she spoke, which was noticeable because through most of the play a lot of dialogue was lost due to the laughter coming from the audience. I realized that Val (who we met earlier) had been pulling our legs when she told us that she had a bit part. She was crucial to the play, and played her part perfectly. If you like bagpipes, some Scottish brogue, surprises, and physical comedy, this play is for you! And if you like chocolate dipped florentines; this is the place to be until April 13th!