Sunday, April 23, 2017

Flirt, Swoon, Use Your Womanly Devices

When your evening begins somewhere luxe, you don't anticipate it ending in an industrial corridor.

Our quartet arrived in the rain at Spoonbread Bistro, were shown to a table in the center of the room and immediately began social intercoursing, at least until we noticed the restaurant steadily filling up. Pros all, we knew it was best to order before the masses did.

The Four Graces Pinot Blanc wet our whistles and amuse bouches of spicy pimento cheese tarts whet our appetites. My companion's order changed once our ginger-bearded server announced that softshell crabs were in the house, while I stuck with a gift-wrapped salad and scallops with corn pudding and bacon drizzle.

The scared and profane part of the discussion began when the friend eating frogmore stew admitted he had shown up for Easter dinner with nothing more than a bouquet of flowers and a cherry pie, completely unaware that Easter was a gift-giving holiday.

Au contraire, he discovered, as we heard tell of Easters past with presents as varied as a BB gun and a Matchbox racetrack because apparently not everyone celebrates resurrection simply with black jellybeans.

And P.S., if anyone's going to bring me flowers and pie, please make it blueberry.

Tonight, mine was the rare case of dessert remorse because the 24k gold leaf carrot cake with maple icing my companion ordered was downright spectacular, certainly more alluring than the chocolate I'd opted for. Will I never learn?

We had no remorse about our choice of entertainment with "Something's Afoot," a murder mystery musical spoofing Agatha Christie's "Ten Little Indians" that, according to director Tom Width, Swift Creek Mill had produced 25 years ago. Not to point out the obvious, but I did a lot of things in 1992 that I'd just as soon not repeat now (one incident involved lemon drops and that's all I'll say about that), but Swift Creek had no such compunction.

Adding drama to drama, he also told us to check out the creek because the water coming down from under Route 1 was battling with the roiling water from the rain on this side, making for some mighty agitation. Of course I trooped outside during intermission with my willing accomplice to see nature's churning spectacle.

The story of guests being invited to an English lake country manor house for a weekend was all kinds of fun with French malapropisms ("Quelle fromage!"), a maid with a pitch-perfect Cockney accent, multiple unlikely death scenarios (poison dart, missing step, falling shield) and near-constant laughter at the top-notch cast's delivery.

Jacqueline Jones was made for the role of Miss Tweed (in a tweed suit, natch), all efficiency and suspicion, while it was impossible not to keep an eye on John Mincks' every move (casually at the fireplace adjusting his junk after fondling a fellow guest) as the crafty nephew trying to secure his inheritance.

Not for a second did the play let us forget it was all one big device, never more evident than when one guest tells another, "We'll leave as soon as it's climatically possible."

The four of us left once the play was smoking its metaphorical cigarette, only to get right back off the highway when we saw a sign for a crash ahead. The nearest exit took us on a soul-less stretch of road that put me closer to Philip Morris than I'd ever been, involved some screaming at a perceived dangerous moment (it wasn't) and, at one shoddy point, was described as resembling a cow path.

Big deal. Once you've been serenaded about getting a rash from a man with a ginger mustache, it takes a lot more than Commerce Road to sour your night.

Besides, no one wants their evening to end before it's climatically optimal.

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