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Erin McDougall, Sandwiches are Beautiful

Erin McDougall is an educator, writer, proud Canadian and great lover of life. She has called Edmonton her home for the past nine years and is an alumna of the University of Alberta's Arts and Education faculties.  A dancer with U of A's Orchesis Modern Dance, she also teaches dance within Edmonton Public Schools and is a patron of the arts scene in Edmonton.  She is the author of the food blog, Sandwiches are Beautiful, where she shares her favorite homemade sandwich ideas and tips, plus stories of sandwich experiences from around Edmonton and throughout Canada.  @eamcdougall

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Date Night in Old Strathcona - dinner and a show

Friday February 21 , 2014

What makes for a classic date night in Old Strathcona?

Dinner and a show! 

It’s hard to go wrong with a night of fine dining and great entertainment in one of Edmonton’s most prominent theatre districts. Especially when you find the perfect table in a cozy corner at Accent Lounge and your tickets are to finally see Catalyst Theatre’s impeccable production of Nevermore: The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe.  Really, it was a five-star night before it even started!

Ryan Parker and Vanessa Sabourin, photos by David Cooper. 

I’ve been a fan of Accent Lounge ever since that first bottle of wine I shared with friends after a Fringe show several summers ago.  Its intimate interior has a fun and mellow old-style pub atmosphere and the menu is full of delicious plates to share, unique salads and entrees to appeal to any night-out cravings. Our high table in the window give us a great view of the snowy street outside and our friendly server assured us that we’d have plenty of time to enjoy our meal before heading to show at 8 PM. We enjoyed pints of the Townsite Downtown Porter (on special!) and ordered the hummus as an appetizer, which arrived promptly with its own ‘masher’ for a unique and interactive hummus experience.

My only complaint is that splitting it between two people was almost too much food for an appy, but we recovered in time to delight in our respective entrees: the Grilled Veg Stack of a portabella mushroom cap with bocconcini and red peppers for me, and the Weiner Schnitzel for my date. We each tried something new and it was the best place to go to relax before taking in the intense spectacle of Nevermore, which was the true star of the evening.


Having missed its premiere run when it was completely sold out back in 2009, I wasn’t about to let the opportunity to see Nevermore slip by again! It was absolutely worth the wait!  From the first dimming of the house lights to the final bow, the incredible cast had us captivated by the haunting tale of the life and death of Edgar Allan Poe. 

Jonathan Christenson and Bretta Gerecke have conceived of a dark and macabre world inhabited by Poe, his family and his vividly tortuous imagination. The ensemble of seven fearless actors took on unique character after unique character, their voices intertwining in perfect, haunting harmonies and their bodies shifting and contorting as though they were controlled by the supernatural forces so often conjured by Poe himself in his works. The enormous hats, cage skirts and numerous wigs and masks were only some of the incredible costumes that enhanced this chilling tale, as did the sheer size and depth of emotion shown in Scott Shpeley’s eyes as Edgar. I found myself holding my breath and shivering with goosebumps several times throughout the show! The cast and crew of this extraordinary production can’t be praised enough for their exquisite storytelling and total commitment to their craft.

A Catalyst production is a theatre experience unlike any other and I’m thrilled that Edmonton audiences have the opportunity to take in this gem of a performance once again.  Don’t miss out on your chance to see this production!  And while you’re at it, pair your theatre with drinks and a nice meal out and you’re in for a real treat of an evening; a date night in Old Strathcona is Edmonton’s food and theatre at its best!

Nevermore: The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe plays at The Westbury Theatre, ATB Financial Arts Barns until March 2, 2014.  Tickets available at Tix on the Square.