Sunday, October 25, 2015

theatre review - THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR - Southwest Shakespeare Company - October 22, 2015

Stephen Hotchner, Emily Mohney, Jesse James Kamps and Clay Sanderson
Photo by Michael Simon / Southwest Shakespeare Company
Click here for more information on this production that runs through October 31st.

"It's been over four hundred years since William Shakespeare's first play premiered, so it's understandable why some theatre companies change the time period or setting in order to add a fresh spin on one of Shakespeare's classic plays. While most of the updated productions of Shakespeare's work that I've seen haven't been completely successful, Southwest Shakespeare Company's The Merry Wives of Windsor, turned into a 1950s sitcom, scores on just about every front.... poor and pompous Sir John Falstaff... attempts to seduce two wealthy married women, Alice Ford and Margaret Page, but ends up being made a fool by both. Meanwhile, Frank Ford, the extremely jealous husband of Alice, who believes she is being unfaithful with Falstaff, disguises himself and hires Falstaff to prove his suspicions...Director Ben Tyler skillfully instructs his cast to play their parts in the exaggerated style of a classic TV sitcom set in 1959, with added, and fun, commercial breaks for "Falstaff Beer" at a few of the scene changes.... Jesse James Kamps is stellar in playing the jealous husband Frank Ford. Kamps appears to be relishing this opportunity and his exaggerated expressions and comical body language add to the fun when Ford's insane jealousy overtakes him. As Falstaff, Peter Good is quite good and...actually makes you sympathize with him as to all that Falstaff is put through.  Emily Mohney and Jordan Letson, as Alice Ford and Margaret Page, are adept in portraying the typical 1950s mom and wife and, though they don't quite become Lucy and Ethel from "I Love Lucy," they make a fun duo who band together in several funny set-ups to deal with both Falstaff and Frank Ford's mischievous plans... Costume designer Maci Hosler's period-specific outfits dress the cast in superb stereotypical outfits of the period that are colorful and bright, while hair and make-up designer Sasha Wordlaw's contributions elevate the end result of each character beautifully. I especially like how the costumes and hair designs for Mohney and Letson make them appear to be stand-ins for Lucille Ball and Donna Reed, how Anne is a typical bobbysoxer, and that two of her suitors, Wanless and Cahoon, are played as if they are a 1950s nerd and jock. Leroy Timblin's set design is a colorful mock-up of a TV sitcom set. The only thing missing is a TV camera and laugh track.  With a fast pace and tightly choreographed stage direction to keep the play moving along at a quick clip, and fun performances from the entire cast, Southwest Shakespeare Company's The Merry Wives of Windsor makes for a fun TV sitcom on stage."  -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

No comments:

Post a Comment