It seems as though my family is making a habit (and tradition) out of adventuring out to Stratford each summer. My first visit was several years ago when we went to see Christopher Plummer perform as King Lear, one of my all time favorite works by Shakespeare. Last year we returned for my favorite musical Evita, and dinner at Pazzo Ristorante.
I made contact with Danielle at Savour Stratford to let her know I would be coming down for an afternoon and evening with the family. She suggested we grab passes for their always popular Chocolate Trail as well as their new Bacon and Ale Trail. We were given two handy maps and spent the next few hours running around town sampling Stratfords best:
a quick stop at Best Little Pork Shoppe
chocolate tea tasting at Tea Leaves Tea Tasting Bar
truffle treats at Chocolate Barr’s Candies Inc
ice cream sundae at Jenn and Larry’s Brittle ‘n Shakes
loaded baked potato soup and mill street ale at Molly Blooms
pork terrine wrapped in smoked bacon with mill street ale at Fosters Inn
mocha mug at Revel Caffe
Once finished tasting our way along Stratford’s two culinary tourism trails the family separated. My parents went off on a hunting trip (for antiques of course) and my sister and I opted to sit by the River Avon to relax and enjoy the company of several hundred ducks and swans. At 5pm we met at Mercer Hall for a fantastic meal which focused with great care on locally sourced food with special attention to the chef’s love for meat.
After dinner we walked along the River Avon as the sun was setting a beautiful orange and pink hue in the sky. We arrived at our destination, The Stratford Festivals “Festival Theatre,” for Much Ado About Nothing. We took a stroll through the gardens which lead up to the entrance of the theatre. My mother, the avid horticulturalist, affectionally fondled as many fronds as she could get her hands on.
Fun Fact: my father, sister and I all wear hearing aids. Just to the left of the entrance we were able to pick up a few headphones which amplify the actors voices so we can hear them with a lot more clarity. So funny how for years I always thought theatre was such a challenge as my hearing became worse. Thankfully I can appreciate more of the nuisances in each actors tone which creates a much better experience for those of us in the hard of hearing community who struggle to make sense of the dialogue.
On the drive to Stratford that morning my father had brought a book which deconstructs Shakespeares famous comedy. He was so excited to see the play and talked a lot about the titles triple entendre. The show is set in the lush and tropical landscape of Brazil at the turn of the 20th century. Much Ado About Nothing tells the story of two sets of lovers, Claudio and Hero, and Beatrice and Benedick. As Claudio woos his beloved Hero, his friend Benedick and Hero’s cousin Beatrice trade insults in an atmosphere of mutual disdain. But as Claudio’s wedding day approaches, a series of deceptions – both friendly and malicious – brings about more than one dramatic change of heart.
On our walk back to the car we all commented on who our favorite characters were. The entire cast really brought an energy onto the stage with choreographed dances and transitions on and off stage. It really is amazing how timeless Shakespeare is. A story drafted hundreds of years ago still resonates with us today. I am also happy to announce that my love for chocolate, bacon and ale (sometimes all at the same time) has been renewed. Special thanks to all of the friendly faces in Stratford who made our trip a memorable one.