Friday, May 20, 2011
Locals Know - The Merry Wives of Windsor
Last week I had the pleasure of seeing the Merry Wives of Windsor with a dear friend. I asked her if she would be so kind as to write us a review. She did such a wonderful job, and I agree with her whole heartedly. Therefore I will post her review in its entirety.
Yay for good friends and good theatre.
The Merry Wives of Windsor was a scrumptious, and unexpected, treat! And one of the best performances by an entire cast that I can remember. Each player was equally as good as the next, and honestly, the word "good" doesn't do them credit; they all performed exceptionally well. In fact, it's difficult not to rave about every one of them, but I'll endeavour to pick out a few highlights:
First, it's interesting to note that this is one of the only plays that Shakespeare set in London and, I believe, the only play that he wrote entirely in prose, which explains why MW is extremely accessible (meaning, easy to understand), because it is not riddled with poetic dialogue. Legend has it that Queen Elizabeth asked the bard to write a play about her beloved character, Falstaff, and that in this play the fat knight should be in love. Oh, and the play must be ready in two weeks! The result: a rich comedy -- a precursor to the modern-day sit-com -- full of farcical moments, and ridiculous characters!
Geraint Wyn Davies captures the character of Sir John Falstaff so completely, you quite forget that he's not a real person! And Davies imbues this delightful character with a warmth that is undeniable. You are drawn into his delusion that, although obese and quite unattractive, he can attract and seduce two lovely married women by sending them an ill-written love letter (the same one to each). And as he endures humiliation after comedic humiliation, you grow to love the fat knight more... and more.
Equally impressive performances are given by the "Wives", Lucy Peacock and Laura Condlln, who capture the wit and high spirits of their characters, drawing you in to their delightful scheme to undermine the would-be seducer, Falstaff. Their complicity is tangible, and you are caught up in their glee as each plot unfolds to repay Falstaff for jeopardizing their honour, and insulting them by sending identical letters!
Although the entire cast shone, it would be unfair not to mention Tom Rooney's absolutely delicious portrayal of the outrageously jealous husband, Master Ford. To learn whether his wife is indeed being unfaithful, Rooney's character disguises himself in foppish clothes and a ridiculous wig; it's a pleasure to watch as Rooney escalates his character's manic jealousy scene after scene, with superb comic timing. If you saw his performance in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum", you will understand; Tom Rooney has a superlative talent for comedy.
Nigel Bennett is also hysterically funny with his almost unintelligible French accent, and Christopher Prentice does a great job of bringing Master Slender's stupendous stupidity to life!
I could go on and on and on... each character was played so well, it seems unfair not to mention every single one of them! Suffice to say that MW is a wonderful, funny play, very easy to understand (even for those who aren't fans of Shakespeare), and ideal for any age! Even the high school students who filled most of the audience the day I saw it were laughing... and at the right spots!