Thursday January 28 was an absolutely incredible day. Not just because I took the day off work, so I got to enjoy a leisurely sleep in followed by a morning on the couch with The Girl on the Train and a cup of my favourite “Read My Lips” David’s Tea. (And tried to take a very blogger-tastic picture of myself pouring my tea… go easy on me, I’m new at this whole thing!)
It wasn’t just because it was not only a typical sunny winter day in Calgary, it was also a warm, sunny winter day in Calgary.
It wasn’t even because I managed to carve out some time for the trip to Costco that I force myself to take every three months for the essential, super non-perishable bulk products that I crave. Yes, Costco was as crazy busy as always…
… and, yes, my shopping cart was a petite bit embarrassing…
But, hey, there are some snap peas in there! And I always feel so incredibly productive and grownup when I come home with a full stock of toilet paper and frozen treats. And can we talk about some of the name-brand finds that will pop up at Costco out of nowhere? That day, Cucina (as in the delicious smelling soap that was once carried by the now seemingly non-existent Fruits and Passion) had a consultant on site and small booth set up. I was going to take a picture, but I was worried my excitement might make me look like a creep.
Anyway, why was Thursday so great? Because it was the opening night of Vertigo Mystery Theatre’s Calamity Town and, as a subscriber, I was off to see it with my mother and my brother! (Yes, I am very fancy. Obviously. And this is the reason I have always considered Thursday to be the day for theatre – we’ve been a part of the Thursday opening night crowd since I was in university.)
First, of course, we had to eat! We had a few errands to run before dinner so when the time came to eat, we needed something reasonably quick that would satisfy even my brother Kevin, the king of picky eaters. We briefly considered whipping into a Vietnamese place, but our last errand took us to the Fabricland off of Macleod Trail and once on Macleod, we saw the sign for Open Sesame and our minds were made up!
I absolutely love Open Sesame – it may not be the newest or trendiest of restaurants, but I have so many fond memories of hosting 19th birthday parties in the small raised loft area, having deep conversations in the tent-inspired bar or eating an entire huge dessert each with my dear friend, Claire, after the waiter expressed his uncertainty that we could do it.
Once we made our way through the elaborate wooden door and down the Arabian Nights-inspired staircase to Open Sesame (going up the stairs takes you to sister restaurant, Bolero, a Brazilian steakhouse), we were greeted by the special of the night – martinis!
I briefly considered a martini, but with all of my leisuring, all I had really eaten that day was two eggs on toast and I figured straight gin was perhaps not the best idea I had ever had. I selected a Malbec instead, while Kevin opted for an Aladdin’s Passion fruit shake.
Now, Open Sesame offers a range of Asian fusion menu items… but I don’t know that I’ve ever known anyone to order off the menu. The real star of the restaurant – and the whole reason you go there – is for their make-your-own-stirfry bar. You select a protein and a carb off their menu (coconut rice is a delicious and recent addition to the carb list), are brought a bowl and little paper with your selections marked, and then you hit up the veggie and sauce bar to design a delicious bowl of all your favourite things! (Their great chefs do the actual stirring and frying, of course.) I find the easiest way to put it together is throw every single vegetable you like into the bowl and then mix together 4-6 scoops of fish sauce and one of the spicy sauces. Easy-peasy and hits the spot every time… and I almost always have leftovers too!
I’m a failure at blogging and only took a before picture. My stirfry was too delicious and I was too excited to remember to snap an after. Just picture calamari and a zillion vegetables over coconut rice.
I was sharp enough to ask my mom to snap a picture of Kevin and I while we anxiously awaited our creations. On the other hand, I forgot that he was wearing the hoodie that reflects light like he is Iron Man, so he somewhat steals the show in our picture. (He’s also obviously very thrilled to be a part of this.)
Once the food arrived, our table fell silent for a good 15 minutes while we eagerly dug in to our delicious meals. In, chat, eat, out… and all in an hour during the dinner time! We grabbed fortune cookies on our way out the door…
… And it was off to Calamity Town!
Opening night is one of the very best times to see theatre, in my opinion. There is such a buzz of excitement in the lobby and it is always thrilling to see the “who’s who” of the Calgary arts scene that comes out for opening. What would a Vertigo play be without Louis B. Hobson’s distinctive laugh following all the best moments? Or Craig Hall’s utterly charming welcome and thank you speech?
This year, Vertigo received an updated liquor license that allows patrons to bring their drinks into the theatre – as long as they are in a plastic glass – which is also all too exciting. No more trying to throw back a glass of wine or entire beer during a 20 minute intermission! (Oh yeah, and there are snacks after the show on Opening Night. Usually involving a cheese tray of some type. I’m not saying it’s the best part of the event, but it just makes a great night all the better. Their caterer rules.)
Back to Calamity Town. A world premiere script, inspired by Ellery Queen’s 1940 novel of the same name. Of course, it is always great to see old favourites including Tyrell Crews, Julie Orton, Jamie Konchak back on the Vertigo stage, but it was also such a delight to see Lindsey Angell back on the Calgary stage after last year’s Liberation Days. However, Christopher Hunt stole the show in his tour de force performance as numerous witnesses during the second act trial scene. (When does Chris Hunt not steal the show, though?… I may be biased. He taught us scenework during our fourth year acting course in university. But he really is so great!)
The greatest part of any mystery is trying to unravel the plot before the characters figure it out, so I won’t give away anything right now. Calamity Town is running at the Playhouse at Vertigo until February 21, 2016 – the theatre is tucked under the Calgary Tower so grab dinner and cocktails at one of the numerous restaurants nearby then enjoy an absolutely incredible night at the theatre. Love it!