Musicals aren't usually my first choice of theatrical experience, but I was intrigued to go along to see Lunchbox Theatre's production of 'Dads in Bondage', first performed in 1988, which went on to be a hit musical all over Canada and to win A Fringe First Award at the 1990 Edinburgh Festival.
Lunchbox Theatre's 2014/2015 performances
Curious to see how a one-act musical would work, I was pleasantly surprised to find it engaging, funny and thoroughly enjoyable. Judging by the reaction of the one hundred or so other members of the audience, I wasn't alone in having a good time.
'Dads in Bondage' is a comical yet touching story about three stay-at-home dads during the first few months of their changed circumstances. Written by Robert More with musical director Tom Doyle, who provided the only musical accompaniment, the story is ultimately about the transforming power of love.
Lunchbox Theatre's box office
As the name suggests, Lunchbox Theatre's ethos is about delivering fun, uplifting performances in an intimate atmosphere to downtown shoppers and office workers in their lunch hour. Performances start at 12.10pm and last one hour. Audience members are encouraged to eat their lunch during the show, which you can pre-order 24 hours in advance for CN$12 and have waiting for you at the box office on arrival. Alternatively, you can purchase lunch at a nearby delicatessen in the Calgary Tower Centre where the Theatre is located.
Lunchbox Theatre is located in the Calgary Tower Centre
Founded in 1975 by two enterprising drama school graduates, Lunchbox Theatre began life as a 'starter' theatre for young actors, performing one-act plays, musical and revues, usually comical and with a 'message'. In the 1990s, the Theatre's focus shifted to the production of original one-act plays and musicals by primarily Canadian writers.
A great way to introduce theatre to new audiences of all ages, Lunchbox Theatre produces nine shows a season. Every season ends with a sneak preview of future productions. This season there is also a 40th birthday fundraiser on 7th June, in celebration of Lunchbox Theatre's 40 years in existence.The 2015-16 season includes productions such as 'Epiphany', described as a 'humorous contemporary spin on the stress that surrounds us during the holidays', and 'What Gives?' a 'romantic, musical romp'.
On the first Tuesday of each production, you can join cast and crew members after the show for High Tea at the Fairmont Palliser nearby. It costs CN$28 and must be booked 24 hours in advance.
If you can't manage a lunch-hour show, why not try one of Lunchbox Theatre's Thursday and Friday 6.10pm 'Happy Hour' performances. Your theatre ticket entitles you to Happy Hour pricing on drinks at Ruth's Chris Steak House, on the second floor of the Calgary Tower, before or after the show.
Tickets for all shows cost CN$25 for adults and CN$20 for students and seniors, although on the first Thursday of each production, CN$10 student tickets are available, and if there are remaining seats for opening performances you can pay what you can at the door.
Lunchbox Theatre also welcomes school groups and requests for corporate events.