The Merry Wives of Windsor – 1999

Director Mo Pearce

‘Come, gentlemen, I hope that we shall drink down all unkindness’

Amused by the larger than life character featured in Shakespeare’s Henry IV, there is a traditional story that Shakespeare was asked to write a play about Falstaff in love, by royal command. So we may have Queen Elizabeth I to thank for this enduring Tudor romp through the lanes and fields of Windsor. The play is a reflection of English country life and is unusual in the fact that most of his characters are ordinary folk; part of a new and growing middle class, wealthy and aspiring, but with solid peasant roots. Karl Marx found ‘on the first act alone more life and movement than in all German literature’!

Few serious critics have shared Marx’s view but the play has always been popular with audiences and has been the source of two well-known operas by Verdi and Vaughan Williams.

This may not be the same Falstaff as the earlier plays as he becomes the butt of others’ jokes rather than being the confident and eloquent perpetrator of his own. However, Dr Johnson believed that the play’s ‘general power is such that, perhaps, it never yet had a reader or spectator who did not think it too soon at an end’.

The plot creates the perfect recipe for a lively and entertaining evening. As a setting nothing could be more appropriate than the courtyard of ‘The George’. We hope, in this production, to capture the real spirit of the play for your delight, in what we trust will be a truly memorable experience.

 

Cast

SIR JOHN FALSTAFF Jim Inwood

ROBIN, his page Christopher Owen

Followers of Falstaff

BARDOLPH Peter Hughes

PISTOL Chris Dawn

NYM Phil Cox

MASTER FRANCIS FORD, a citizen of Windsor John Shippey

MISTRESS ALICE FORD, his wife Carolyn Noble

His servants

JOHN Alan Caspall

ROBERT Peter Hughes

MASTER GEORGE PAGE, a citizen of Windsor Michael Williamson

MISTRESS MARGARET PAGE, his wife Maggie Caspall

MISTRESS ANNE PAGE, their daughter Nathanya Ginsberg

MASTER WILLIAM PAGE, their son Jasper Fishwick

MARY, Anne’s friend Rachel Silver

MASTER ROBERT SHALLOW, a Justice of the Peace Derrick Scothern

MASTER ABRAHAM SLENDER, his nephew David Cooper

MISTRESS SIMPLE, Slender’s servant Pam Nicholls

DR CAIUS, a French Doctor Michael Black

MISTRESS QUICKLY, his housekeeper Collette Parker

JOHN RUGBY, his servant Martin Richardson

MASTER FENTON, a young gentleman Peter Fishwick

SIR HUGH EVANS, a Welsh Parson Dominic Whitehead

THE HOSTESS of the Garter Inn at Windsor Susie Williams

CHILDREN OF WINDSOR Lizzie Bloxham, Hayley Gregory, Laura Hading, James Skinner

 

Production Team

Director Mo Pearce

Stage Manager Malcolm Lyons

Assisted by Bob Pugh, Gary Mackay

Set Designer Colin Chalk

Stage Construction Kirton Construction Ltd.

Costume Team Wendy Usher, Terry Dick, Mo Pearce, Jo Fradley

Continuity Ruth Sherrington

Photographs Simon Ellis ABIPP AMPA

Lighting Design Andy Kendon

Sound Design Gerry Davison, Amanda Leaden

Make-Up Graeme Hammond and team

Publicity Marline Peulevé, Dee Wormald

Box Office Cheryl Cook, Michael Cook

Front of House & Sales Trish James assisted by Sandra Sturgeon, Samantha Sturgeon, Karen James, Emma Kibbey, Andy Kibbey and Team

Production Team Peter Barton, Roger Blackmore, Adam Bright, Mary Fishwick, June Forway, Sarah Griffiths, Pat Hamilton, Graeme Hammond, Rachael Hankinson, Lesley Harling, Chris Hunnam, Mel Pugsley, Maggie Redgrave, Ruth Sherrington, Kate Tweedly, Mark Usher and Team

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