the small outdoor amphitheatre in Old Mill Park. Whether they will get tocontinue to do so is in the hands of city’s Parks and Recreation Commission asthey deal with complaints from some neighbors who appear to be shocked –SHOCKED – that people actually use the park for its intended purposes.
In the meantime, they’re moving forward with this year’sproduction of The Merry Wives of Windsor. The comedy runs weekendsthrough September 8. Not one of Shakespeare’s most critically revered plays, itcommits the cardinal sin (to some) of actually being entertaining.
Described by one of the actors after a recent performance as“a terrible read, but great fun to watch”, it contains one of Shakespeare’sgreatest characters – the portly Sir John Falstaff (Grey Wolf). He arrives inWindsor a little short on coin and decides the best way to rectify that is towoo two wealthy wives and seduce them out of their purses. Falstaff attempts toenlist his servants Nym (Steve Beecroft) and Pistol (Philip Swanson) in hisscheme, but they refuse and are dismissed. Seeking revenge on him, theex-servants notify the husbands of the wives, Masters Ford and Page (MarcBerman & Mark Shepard), of Falstaff’s designs. Mistresses Ford and Page(Heather Cherry & Marianne Shine) have already figured out Falstaff’s plan andplot his comeuppance.
Meanwhile, young Anne Page (Lily Jackson) is being pursuedby three men – Slender (Anthony Rummel), French Doctor Caius (Beecroft again)and young Fenton (Dan DeGabriele). Each suitor has support from various familymembers and associates and it should come as no surprise that the twostorylines will connect by the play’s conclusion.
It’s interesting to note that in this play the femalecharacters are all level-headed while most of the male characters areidiots. Director Kim Bromley posits this may be one of the reasons this play isoften dismissed.
There’s a good ensemble at work here, led by Wolf’scharismatic Falstaff. He’s a rogue and a scoundrel, but you’re gonna like theguy. The same goes for the rest of the cast, who are mostly well-castand very entertaining, especially Beecroft’s Inspector Clouseau-ish DoctorCaius.
Dress warmly, bring a picnic, borrow one of the theatrecompany’s blankets, and say good-bye to summer with a very enjoyable,light-hearted trip to Windsor.
‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’ runs Saturdays and Sundaysthrough September 8 at the Old Mill Park Amphitheater in Mill Valley. There isalso a special Labor Day performance. All shows are at 2pm and admission isfree though donations are graciously accepted.
For more information, go to curtaintheatre.org