Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Another Great Review


Flatwater Shakespeare perfects ‘Merry Wives of Windsor’
Daily Nebraskan, June 7, 2009

The Merry Wives of Windsor are having far too much fun. In this presentation of William Shakespeare’s comedic play, the actors are having at least as much of a good time as the audience.

Merry Wives is one of Shakespeare’s few plays set in his native England and features the reoccurring character of Sir John Falstaff, first seen in Henry IV. Falstaff, an aging, portly and not terribly brave knight, has schemed to fleece two married ladies of their husbands’ money by seducing both of them. Little does he know that the ladies, Mistress Page and Mistress Ford, have compared notes, not to mention his duplicate love letters, and are doing a little scheming of their own.

Between Falstaff and his drunken companions, the clever wives, jealous husbands, and three different lovelorn swains all chasing the lovely daughter Anne Page, hilarity ensues.

Falstaff is well played by Joel Story, who has the booming voice to go with his impressive figure. Mistress Meg Page is portrayed by Becky Key Boesen and Mistress Alice Ford by Sasha Dobson, both of whom obviously relish their roles, as does Melissa Lewis Nuss, who plays Mistress Quickly, the go-between for the prospective “lovers.”

Much of the humor is provided by Trent Stork as the effeminate Master Slender and Robie Hayek as the ridiculous French physician Dr. Caius, each competing for the hand of lovely young Anne Page.

By far the most hilarious moment is a “duel” between Dr. Caius and the Welsh Parson Sir Hugh, played by Ryan Kathman. Between the dueling accents and competitive butchering of the English language, they barely manage to cross blades and when they do, each is clearly as surprised as the other.

The Swan Theater is small and intimate, set in the open air courtyard of what was once Wyuka Cemetery’s carriage house and stable. The play is presented in the round, with the actors portraying their parts with three rows of seated audience on either side, and the occasional sly wink in the audience’s direction.

For all of you who have only ever read Shakespeare in high school, this is a wonderful opportunity to appreciate [one of his works] how it was intended to be enjoyed. It is also a more economical way to spend an evening, for those of us who can’t afford expensive summer concert tickets.

Take bread to feed the ducks and geese at the neighboring pond, but beware the swans. And beware The Merry Wives of Windsor – cross them at one’s own peril!


The Flatwater Shakespeare Company presents The Merry Wives of Windsor in the open-air Swan Theatre at Wyuka Cemetery and Park, 3600 O Street in Lincoln. Performances continue Thursdays through Sundays, June 11-14 and 18-21. All show times are 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $10 for students. Call 484-7640 for reservations.

Photo: Trent Stork as Master Slender in Flatwater Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor. Photo by Brad Boesen.

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