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Review: Review:The Merry Wives of Windsor at The New Fortune Theatre

Review By Sophia Gilet

The Merry Wives of Windsor by Shakespeare is an 'out and out' comedy.

GRADS have put on a terrific version at The New Fortune theatre.

A UWA venue makes for easy parking and beautiful atmosphere pre show.

The Merry Wives of Windsor actually revolves around Sir John Falstaff and his dealings with said Wives of Windsor. The two wives played gloriously by Anna Head and Meredith Hunter and John Falstaff played by Grant Malcolm, who brings many facets of this character to light are excellent in every scene they have together.

However this is a story with almost as many subplots as there are actors. 18 actors all up and almost no doubling at all.  The director Thomas Dominick excelled at bringing fun and energy to this story.

From the moment the actors first walk on stage there is surprising clarity that is much appreciated by the audience.

The energy was amazing and reminded me why Shakespeare is just as fun to watch outdoors as it is indoors.

All the actors bought oodles of energy to the stage, even the non speaking roles had rich complex lives and interactions that lifted the scenes. My favourite was Robin whose story was heartwarming despite saying no more than 5 lines.

I was amazed at the amount of people that could be onstage and yet the audience was still completely able to follow the story clearly. With a simple set (in most scenes no set) the actors filled out the stage and gave points of focus for the audience.

The entire cast had great characterisation, with larger than life characters and it was clear to see how much fun was had by all.

I definitely appreciated the accents used and the humour it bought.

The story is a riot of fun and mischief with disguises, witches, and giant clothes baskets.

Mistress Forward and Mistress Page had excellent chemistry and obviously bought a lot of history and love to their relationship Shakespeare's writing is at times dense but the actors do good work making it too funny and bringing out all the innuendo of the play with many hip thrusts involved.

The new Fortune theatre is an excellent place to stage any Shakespeare they did very well using the space all round. The peacocks did not make an appearance tonight but a little sprinkling of rain. Grant Malcolm rounded out Fallstaff's character in every way, he bought delicacy and enthusiasm and energy of the the likes that is rarely seen. He was expertly matched and overpowered by Mistress Ford and Mistress Page. Grant Malcolm had the audience laughing at him laughing with him feeling sorry for him loathing him. The sub plot to do with the daughter which had three suitors was funny. Robert Jackson and Kaitlin Okelyl playing pistol and Mum and later The Servants to one of the Mistresses did an excellent job conveying their opinion on the goings on of their masters. Sarah Thillagaratnam as a host of the Garter was everything you could wish for in a swashbuckling pirate woman tequila guzzling host who only stirred up the fires of any mischief was currently going on.

At 2 hours long with a 15 minute interval the merry wives of Windsor is a fun evening out it's accessible to everyone. The director and the actor have made it easy to understand and a lot of fun.

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All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.


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