Sunday, April 12, 2009

Another weekend at the Blackfriars

I once again spent this past weekend in beautiful Staunton, VA. We stayed at the Hampton Inn Harrisonburg South, a relatively new hotel, that provides excellent accomodations and service for a very good price. I highly recommend it if you are staying in the Staunton/Harrisonburg area.

We arrived on Friday and stopped in at Cranberry's Grocery and Eatery in Staunton. My wife had a delicious piece of quiche and I had a wonderful roast beef sandwich with a cream cheese/horseradish spread and roasted red pepper on multi-grain bread. We then went to The Split Banana and had some great ice cream/gelatto. Actually, we went three times while in town! I had M&M Birthday Cake, Virginia Peanut Butter, and Sweet Cream in a waffle cone. I highly recommend checking them out- they're not Lapp Valley, but who is? For dinner we tried the Mill Street Grill. I am not a huge fan of BBQ ribs, but I had to try these as their reputation precedes them. I must say, the reputation is well deserved. I had the White Star Rib Platter: a half rack of BBQ Baby Back and a half rack of St. Louis style with fried green tomatoes and some great slaw. My wife had beef brisket with garlic mashed potatoes. Everything was great, the sauce was a bit smoky, a bit sweet, and a bit spicy. The star of the meal was a pewter crock of bread (Bavarian dark, whole wheat, and white) with strawberry butter. Tremendous! We had an excellent server, Morris, who was most helpful.

We then headed to the Blackfriars Playhouse to see "Rosencrantz and Guildentstern are Dead." This was a most excellent performance, highlighted by standout performances by Ginna Hoben, Rick Blunt, Luke Eddy, and Daniel Kennedy. Rick Blunt is a gregarious fellow who mingles with the crowd before the show- I had a wonderful time joshing with him. The next day we saw "The Comedy of Errors." Blunt, Hoben, Eddy, Dennis Henry, and Josh Carpenter were stand-out performers in this farcical tale of confusion. Later that evening, we returned to see "Hamlet." Eddy's performance as the title character was riveting. Other standouts were Aiden O'Reilly, Kennedy, Carpenter, Blunt & Hoben (reprising their roles as Rosencrantz & Guildenstern) and Jonathan Reis as Claudius. We made the mistake of asking to sit in the Queen's box for this performance: the view was terrible, and the seats uncomfortable, though it was nice to say we did it. We moved to the Lord's Chairs at intermission. I highly recommend checking out as many plays as possible at the American Shakespeare Center. I've already booked my seats for the fall season, and the 2010 Actors' Renaisance Season for next year. I'm also going to see "A Christmas Carol" and "The Santaland Diaries" this December. All I can say is, if they show it, I'm going to see it and I urge you to do the same (and give a donation if you can). 

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