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"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Merry Wives of Windsor "We may have moved from Brentford to Brentwood but The Merry Wives of Essex has much to offer" @TheRSC #RSCWindsor @BarbicanCentre

Last Friday night Stuart and I went to see the first performance of the Royal Shakespeare Company's latest production of The Merry Wives of Windsor at the Barbican Theatre in London's glitzy Barbican Centre.

This modern-dress production was fabulous - less classic Shakey and more full-on pantomime. Fiona Laird’s production relocates the action from middle-class Windsor to modern Essex - the Essex of TOWIE, that is - so, of course, we laughed like drains.

The wives were endowed with estuary clothes and accents, the set festooned with wheelie-bins and pink flamingos, and the comedy and wordplay beautifully physical.

David Troughton, equipped with a permanently projecting codpiece and caressing his body with ill-disguised delight, was a first-rate Sir John Falstaff and enunciated every syllable with great clarity. Laird's intention was clearly to show a sexual predator being vanquished by resourceful women. And accordingly both Merry Wives Beth Cordingly and Rebecca Lacey made the point that wives may be merry without being treated as sexual objects.

Jonathan Cullen's Dr Caius wrang every laugh out of the funny-Frenchman joke by pronouncing 'ears' as 'arse'. Vince Leigh fully captured the torment of the insanely jealous Ford. And David Acton as the Welsh parson beautifully lead the audience in a chorus of Bread of Heaven.

We may have moved from Brentford to Brentwood but The Merry Wives of Essex had much to offer.

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