“The Merry Wives of Windsor” by Seattle Shakespeare Company

Oh that greedy Falstaff, the wenching, quaffing, conniving, hail fellow well met at the center of “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” we love his bluster and adore witnessing his comeuppance. John Patrick Lowrie, Seattle Shakespeare’s Falstaff brings the full range of Falstaff’s personality to the stage. He’s a larger than life presence, just as he should be.

Candace Vance as Mistress Ford and Leslie Law as Mistress Page, the two married women who have caught Falstaff’s eye, are equally well cast. These tricky ladies know just how to handle a scheming letch, and they do it with panache. The contrasts in their physical appearance and costume make them all that much better conspirators.

Gavin Cummins as Dr. Caius has the most deliciously awful French accent and makes the perfect buffoon. Young Luke Porter as Robin creates a sweet stage persona, but his shrill voice was difficult to understood.

“Merry Wives of Windsor” is one of Shakespeare’s funniest plays, and the only one that he wrote about the England of his time. And if we are to judge his society by this work, it was a period of greed and deceptions. So of course, it resonates today, as it no doubt did then.

As in all Shakespeare plays, the plot is far more convoluted than I’ve revealed. And it’s all presented in lush period costumes and with the occasional inclusion of fine music. Cheers to Terry Edward Moore who directed this delightful confection.

Through May 15 at the Center House Theatre, Seattle Center. (206 733-8222 or www.seattleshakespeare.org).

 

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