Viewport width =
March 1, 2010 | by  | in Theatre |
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

Sir John Falstaff and the Merry Wives of Windsor


Sir John Falstaff and the Merry Wives of Windsor is not your average Shakespearian comedy. It doesn’t seek to comment on wider truths of life or love. It’s not there to push any kind of boundary or idea. Your mind will not expand while watching it. You will, however, laugh. A lot.

Merry Wives is the purest of Shakespeare’s comedies. It is a farcical comedy of romantic cross and double cross, centered around a recurring troupe of comic characters returning from a few of his earlier histories. This troupe is headed by Sir John Falstaff, a blustering, blubbery knight who is too busy being a drunken letch to do anything constructive when, for sport as much as for lust, attempts to seduce two married women in parallel. Hilarity ensues. As does much running around, several comedy accents and more than one disguise.

That Merry Wives is such a broad comedy is its greatest strength, and director David Lawrence is very well aware of that. He takes no shame in ringing every ounce of laughter out of this play. Working together with his big cast of Vic students, Lawrence has crafted a boisterous explosion of mirth.

The cast fully commit to the roles, giving Merry Wives a momentum that almost sustains the show’s three hours. It does, however, still feel somewhat overlong and one cannot help but feel that a taut two hours twenty would have been much more satisfying for an audience.

The four leads (Ralph Upton, Louise Burston, Daniel Watterson and Laura Feslier) should be called out for their exceptionally wonderful performances. All four of them demonstrated marked skill in comic timing and found the right pitch of hysteria that milks every moment of funny from something without crossing over into annoying or grating the audience. Benjamin Haddock makes a good go of Falstaff, a task made hard by the odd-out-of characterness of him throughout the piece, but simply failed to woo this audience member.

While slightly distended, Sir John Falstaff and the Merry Wives of Windsor was a great night out. Bring a blanket and prepare to chuckle.

Sir John Falstaff and the Merry Wives of Windsor
By William Shakespeare
Directed by David Lawrence
With Ralph Upton, Louise Burston, Alice Pearce, Bailey McCormack, Daniel Watterson, Laura Feslier, Blair Everson, Benjamin Haddock, Dominic McElwee, Tamas Molnar, Vicky Roper, Helen Sims, Kirsty Bruce, Shannon Tubman, Melanie Camp, James Barber, Michael Pohl, Eleanor Stewart, Florence Mato, Jessica Aaltonen and Ngahiriwa Rauhina

At the Ampitheatre, 77 Fairlie Tce
12 – 27 Feb 2010

Book at

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

About the Author ()

Uther was one of the two arts editors in 2009. He was the horoscopier and theatre writer in 2010. Alongside Elle Hunt, Uther was coeditor in 2011.

Comments are closed.

Recent posts

  1. Cuttin’ it with with Miss June
  2. SWAT
  3. Ravished by the Living Embodiment of All Our University Woes
  4. New Zealand’s First Rainbow Crossing is Here (and Queer)
  5. Chloe Has a Yarn About Mental Health
  6. “Stick with Vic” Makes “Insulting” and “Upsetting” Comments
  7. Presidential Address
  8. Final Review
  9. Tears Fall, and Sea Levels Rise
  10. It’s Fall in my Heart

Editor's Pick

This Ain’t a Scene it’s a Goddamned Arm Wrestle

: Interior – Industrial Soviet Beerhall – Night It was late November and cold as hell when I stumbled into the Zhiguli Beer Hall. I was in Moscow, about to take the trans-Mongolian rail line to Beijing, and after finding someone in my hostel who could speak English, had decided