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In Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, iconic character Falstaff, known from Shakespeare’s highly successful play Henry IV, is seeking love. Unfortunately for the married women of Windsor he’s going about it in all the wrong ways. And unfortunately for Falstaff, they know how to tangle him up in tricky predicaments that invariably end up with him landing in a ditch or river. Meanwhile, Anne is a young woman in love with a man her parents don’t approve of and must get creative in order to marry him rather than the ghastly men they’ve picked out for her.
It’s a fun, novel story that’s already filled with mischief, deceit and trivial conquests. Now, director Victor Kalka has added a whole new level of hilarity by placing it in 80s Australia smack-bang in the middle of suburbia.
The Merry Wives of Windsor is a story that is best told in a short, sharp performance. This portrayal was a little slower than ideal, causing some fidgeting in the audience, and some performers struggled with the tongue-twister that is Shakespearean dialogue. That being said, the combination of funky retro costuming, jaunty music and a few standout performances keep things moving and the audience laughing.
Falstaff is a manipulative, misogynistic and misguided character – but when played by Cheryl Ward he’s also bumbling, rambunctious, and so much fun to watch as he fails to get what he wants. Roslyn Hicks and Suzann James are fantastic as the two wives that get the better of Falstaff and give us the 2022 Kath and Kim reunion that we all want.
The set is classic Aussie suburbia, complete with hills hoist in the backyard. The music was loud and vibrant, particularly in the opening scene which set the performance up nicely – I wish there was more!
The Merry Wives of Windsor is on from 22 April to 21 May. Purchase tickets here.
Wine Pairing | Moscato
Moscato is a very sweet wine, which sometimes can feel almost syrupy in your mouth – ideal for Falstaff’s poorly disguised efforts to forge love in other people’s marriages!
My Pick: Brown Brothers, 2017, Sparkling Moscato, Northeast Victoria
This Moscato by Brown Brothers is sweet, fruity and well balanced with acidity and a solid fizz.
|Aussie Season||22 April to 21 May 2022, New Theatre|
|Theatre Type & Genre||Shakespeare, comedy|
|See it if you like||family drama mixed with rom coms|
|Criteria for Wine Pairing||sweet and bubbly|