Through July 16
THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR Shakespeare in Delaware Park
By Augustine Warner
Yes: It’s an all-woman production of “The Merry Wives of Windsor.”
Yes: It’s funny and worth seeing.
When Shakespeare wrote the play, he had plenty of female characters and legend has it that Queen Elizabeth ordered up the play, to see more of Falstaff.
Of course, those female roles were played by men since women weren’t allowed on stage, no matter what happens in “Shakespeare in Love.”
Director Eileen Dugan has put together a strong cast for Shakespeare in Delaware Park and almost certainly learned from directing an all-female version of “Macbeth” in the past.
She also has the deep acting pool in this area, resulting from the continuing expansion of the local theater scene.
That’s why this production can revolve around Pamela Rose Mangus’ Falstaff, Josie DiVincenzo’s Mistress Page, Kate Konigisor’s Master Ford and Darleen Pickering Hummert’s Mine Host of the Garter Inn.
The story revolves around Falstaff’s continuing quest for money and women.
He’s short of one and women are onto his game.
That’s where it becomes farcical as Mistress Page and Mistress Ford lure him into their game and he falls into several traps, desperate as he is for money and maids.
You can get the feeling watching “The Merry Wives of Windsor” that Shakespeare never quite got his act together and thinned the script.
Now, the Bard usually is juggling more than one plot but usually keeps it fairly clean and taut, something increasingly true as he aged and became more experienced.
Here, he wanders a bit and Dugan sometimes exaggerates the physical plotting of Mistress Ford and Mistress Page, a little too much sporting victory for Elizabethan England.
From the audience, you just have to watch the twisting, turning plot work itself out and these plays eventually work themselves out.
Most of the performers have mastered the male role in this production, making most of the activity perfectly plausible
David Dwyer put the new SIDP stage to good use, with a more elaborate second floor to offer Dugan more options in movement on stage.
SIDP does better with comedies than with tragedy and later this season we can see how the Scottish Play does July 27.
“The Merry Wives of Windsor” is funny and entertaining.
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