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By Megan Scott
The Guildford Shakespeare Company braves the unpredictable June weather by presenting William Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor at Guildford Castle Grounds.
A lively and clever play, The Merry Wives of Windsor is about two married women who wreak revenge on an arrogant admirer of theirs, Falstaff, who was rumoured to be a favourite character of Queen Elizabeth I from the Henry IV plays and which may have prompted Shakespeare to write it.
In this performance, the slapstick humour was played to its absolute best, the dialogue understandable and relatable as the actors used their body language for effect, and it even has a few surprises along the way. There was not one weak performance in it, as every single character, even the minor ones, was brought to life with flair and imagination. The cast consists of 11 actors, with several of them playing two or more characters.
The play translates perfectly into a 1950s setting, and is arguably better suited to it as it was not one of the more favoured of Shakespeare’s plays. Indeed, there was no other era when a respectable man’s look of uncontrollable outrage was any funnier.
The bandstand in the Castle Grounds was used with typical GSC creativity, as it was partially extended into a house setting, including idyllic white picket fencing. There was a clever use of colour, particularly to distinguish the families of Ford and Page.
It was extremely well received by the audience with many laughs, and the applause at the end was long enough to warrant three bows from the cast. I strongly recommend you see this play. Older children may also enjoy it, there were at least two in the audience and both were laughing uproariously along with everyone else. I would advise you dress for all kinds of weather, as although the weather was pleasant for Monday’s performance it became rather cold in the shade.
The play runs until June 30, Box office: 01483 304384. Click here for website Guildford Shakespeare Company’s website.