Fireside Dinner Theatre

Drove up the beaten path to Whitewater to the Fort to see the Christmas show. We had heard the Theatre was fun, so picked a free night. We picked a bad night to go — Fridays are hard. Needed to leave by 5PM. Stressful. Bad planning on our part. We are tired people come Friday night.

Signs directed us to the theater off of WI89. Buses waited to dump people off. We went in, checked Bette’s coat, and walked past the bright shops to the fireplace, bordering the bar and restaurant, a large, but homey space. Everything is clean. Cool sculpture in the center of the bar.

Service was excellent, though the bread girl was the liveliest server out of the bunch. Table setup was diner quality paper napkins & china. Food was good fish fry food — not spectacular, and for gratuity sake they specify that the food value is half the ticket price. For a ticket of $63, that is the most expensive $30 fish fry I ever had — compare to the excellent Crandall’s in Hebron at $14.

The meal starts out with fresh baked bread, somewhat boring for homemade bread, more like light white bread. On the table is a dish of yummy applesauce with a heavy cinnamon flavor and a huge dish of coleslaw. I don’t like coleslaw, but that was the salad, so I tried some, and kept eating. Good thing I like cabbage, and the dressing was much lighter that other coleslaws I have tried.

The fish was fried nicely, done, but still moist and not overcooked. Batter good. Fries good. Hey if you can’t have fries with your fish fry, why bother? Bette had the steamed fish and loved it, and the small red potatoes. Served with stir-fried vegetable medley. And the bread girl came around again.

They served good if generic wines for a reasonable $5.50 per glass, good large pours. The manager walked through once to ask us how things were going. Excellent.

Several small shops inside for browsing before the show and after dinner. We got a wooden “decoy” of a loon to join our ducks on the mantel. Neat Christmas tree displays with different themes, my favorite was the blue-green one based on peacock feather colors.

The show is dinner theater in the round. Lively, well sung and staged, with the obligatory small children. A “Santa’s Elf” named Snowflake stole the show with magic tricks and snappy patter. The center of the stage has a 10 foot diameter elevator through which props and cast members entered and left. Very cool. A lovely choral rendition of O Holy Night with the attractive cast dressed in evening wear ended the show. If you are looking for secular entertainment, this ain’t it — the second act was a Christmas pageant, complete with the readings, just like in church. Better props, though. We wondered if any of the cast was Jewish.

Biggest complaint — starting time of 8:30P. The show was out at 11:20P, and we had a 1.5 hour drive home. Late nite. Should have stayed with Sara in her condo in Fort, but we have a dog to think about.

Fun and high quality. Recommended, perhaps for a matinee, check out some of the other shows. If I went again, I might try the other meal.

www.firesidetheatre.com
1131 Janesville Ave, Fort Atkinson, WI, (920) 563-9505

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