Best of the Fest: what we loved about the Shaw
"You are putting us in a blog? Are we going to be famous." asked three cute cherry sellers at the side of Niagara Stone Road. The cherry season here is starting and they assured us they had just picked them. Not only that they had Saskatoon berries - a first for us, although we did once go in search of huckleberries in Montana. The Saskatoons had a taste like no other berry - earthy and darkly sweet. We're here to throw ourselves into the Shaw Theatre Festival but we've managed to find some favourite things to do in Niagara-on-the-Lake in between shows. Like the Farmer's Market where we bought pear chutney from Martin's Pickles and Soups, the cherry stands everywhere.....
and Balzac's coffee shop which we keep drifting back to with it's packing case seating and vintage-style posters. A perfect place to cool off from that famous Niagara humidity (bring hair products) and maybe see a local although I met two English people in there (one from my home town). We did eavesdrop on some actors from one of the shows (always fun). "How is the show going ," asks a friend. "At this stage we don't really know anymore," is the reply.
|Blogging and eavesdropping in Balzac's|
We did brave the heat to go on one of the regular garden tours organised by the Horticultural Society. Some beautiful hollyhocks at this one where ladies in hats gather in force. A good chance to meet some locals and ask them about living in the village.
|Hollyhocks and hats|
We especially loved the artwork on the posters for the Shaw this year - fun and quirky like this one below. We were sad that we couldn't buy them. But there are good gifts in the Festival Theatre shop or shawp including scripts of the plays and fridge magnets with George Bernard Shaw quotes "Youth is wasted on the young".
|One of the amazing posters for the Shaw|
Our favourite people at the Shaw were Laurie Paton as the wonderful Duchesse in Our Betters (Tony, darling!), Teresa Prysbylski, set designer of Lady Windermere's Fan (my favourite for the music and staging), Jeff Meadows as Mellersh Wilton for the perfectly executed piece of high farce which had me crying with laughter in Enchanted April, Thom Allison as Nicely Nicely Johnson in Guys and Dolls (Sit Down You're Rockin the Boat) and finally Jeff Irving, a star in the making for The Light at the Piazza and Trifles (great acting, great voice) who we overheard some older ladies describing as "delicious" in a bar... and we have to agree.
The Shaw Festival lasts until October.
For more on what to do in the area including bike tours and wineries: see Ontario Tourism.
We stayed at 340 Gate B&B - two blocks from the main street and provider of great home-cooked breakfasts.