REVIEW: The Merry Wives of Windsor

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The Merry Wives of Windsor

The Priory Playhouse, Arundel

Until Saturday, January 24

Shakespeare came to the Priory Playhouse in Arundel for the first time this week, with the Merry Wives of Windsor.

But although Shakespeare was also a first for most of the Arundel Players’ cast, they rose to the challenge admirably, skilfully directed by Mike Wells.

Brought into the 20th century by the second world war setting, the play gave plenty of scope for humour and wit. It also offered a wealth of opportunities for each of the 16-strong cast to shine as one after another they took centre stage throughout the intricate plot.

The Players embraced their roles with great panache, effortlessly stepping into character and clearly enjoying this bawdy comedy by the Bard.

Philip Amor relished taking on the persona of the rowdy Sir John Falstaff who despite his gross manners, arrogantly and mistakenly believes himself to be irresistible to women.

The perfect foil for him was Nick Roughton as the jealous husband of one of the respectable wives of Windsor that Falstaff hopes to seduce. Nick is a newcomer to the Priory Playhouse and his passionate delivery and perfect timing were faultless - and the scenes where he and Philip appear together were among the highlights of the production.

The Merry Wives – Julie Waite and Liz Lawrence – revelled in taking their revenge on the hapless Sir John, while the rest of the cast ably wove their way through the complexities of the plot.

JR