Category Archives: Performance Review

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Williamsburg: The Ghost Minefield

The Setting:

Historic Williamsburg, an age of old fashioned, colonial dresses and horse drawn carriages. Its a place of education, information, and people walking about for the sole purpose of enjoying history live (or as alive as possible). However, what most people don’t think of are the ghosts of the past. Axwild Tours will take you into the past and give you a detailed description of the hauntings that would normally send people running.

 

The Path:

You start in front of the Wilma Sonoma, on the Duke of Gloucester Street, standing in the middle of the street to talk to your tour guide. He or she tells you about ghosts that people had seen all the way to the famous Jamestown (Island). You progress without moving all the way back to the school before starting off on the official walk. You head away from the college on the same street, stopping in front of the theatre before continuing again. Just past the barricade, to the right are the bathrooms and visitor’s/ticket center. The tour will continue, stopping outside Martha Washington’s house (before she was a Washington) and then again beside the courthouse, right in front of the stocks. Then, you’re taken to the Randolph Peyton house before going towards the Palace Green. Then, to conclude the trip, your tour guide takes you to just outside (or inside if you’re lucky) the cemetery.

 

The Stories:

While you’re on the ghost tour, there are a few stories you get to hear.

 

There was a theatre that used to be Annie’s House. During the Civil War, Annie found an injured confederate soldier and brought him home. She tried her best to save his life, but he died. Annie called in the town for the Union soldiers who had taken over the city. She showed one the soldier and it was his brother. They buried him. Afterwards, the Confederate soldier marched around her property, keeping her safe. After the Rockefellers bought the property and turned it into a theatre, people started seeing the man in gray sitting in the back row during intermission between two movies in a double feature.

 

The Palace used to have grand parties and the Wythes would attend. Mrs. Wythe loved the color red and she was also quite the red head. No one knows what she wore on her last night, but everyone remembered her red slippers. Well, she went looking for her husband in the garden, only to find the man she loved in the arms of another woman. Mrs. Wythe’s temper was well known and in a fit of rage, she rushed from the mansion and halfway home, lost her shoe. She ran inside the house and up the stairs, but she tripped, lost her balance, and fell to her death over the bannister. Now, today as a rite of passage, pledges will bring a red shoe or sandals and knock on the door, telling her they brought her slipper. They hear someone having a fit inside and run off.

 

My Reaction:

Our tour guide, Alison was awesome. She was well informed and very friendly. She even let me (pregnant as I am) go to the bathroom when the tour first started. I loved listening to her talk. We had fun. Lots of fun. We even had our own ghost experiences while on tour. Alison was a delight and my fiancée and I enjoyed every second of our ghost tour.

 

I give Axwild Tours 4.5 stars out of 5.

 

My only complaint was that the lantern Alison carried had a fake candle instead of a real one.

 

You can find out more about their tours on their facebook page here and on their website here. Call 757-565-0311 for reservations.


Good Ol’ Girls at Hollins Theatre–A Review

Going to the Little Theatre to watch any performance is exhilarating, but musical especially. There’s something about the way the actors, the set, and the musicians come together that can let you know the style of the director as well as his or her teaching style. Ernie teaches his actors while he works with them. They don’t notice at first, but after a while its obvious. I should know, I was in Goodnight Moon in Fall 2011.

Good Ol’ Girls is a montage of different stories of the Good Ol’ Girls of the south. It has a Nashville, TN style of music that demands a twang to your voice. The girls are sassy, young, old, crazy, easy, in love, out of love, beaten, and even more. They go through birth, death, first love, last love, and so much more. The musical made me laugh, cry and my heart burst.

The story line is just that its a tribute to the good ol’ girls who go through so much. Its a montage of music and monologues that show who and what a good ol’ girl is.

“A Good Ol’ Girl…speaks her mind. Just ask them ol’ boys who crossed her one time.”

We see this throughout the musical.

The actors were phenomenal. Their voices fit together better than the lime and the coconut. The set looked like they took months to build, but I know it was shorter than that and for the first time the band was up on stage. I’ve never seen the band actually on the set. Above, yes. Below, yes. Offstage, yes. It was nice and the actors played to each member. It was like they were actors as well. It made things amazing.

I only had a few issues. Okay, ’twas only two.

1. There were a few technical difficulties. Mics cut off suddenly mid-line only to come back again. That was all the TD, but it was still annoying. Really important scenes were ruined because I couldn’t hear the girl’s voice.

2. I couldn’t understand half the songs’ lyrics. I understand there’s that twang, but I know its possible to sing in a way to be understood with the southern twang. Country stars who don’t act can do it. Why can’t actors. Alright, I’m being hard, but that’s because Ernie accepts nothing less than perfection. Most of these girls don’t naturally have southern accents, but its easy to learn the accent in Roanoke. Southern accent hotbed, people.

I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. I really wanted to give five stars, but it wasn’t meant to be. I do appreciate how hard these girls worked though. There are encore performances in May and June, so you should really really check it out and buy tickets.