How do I compare this play to a summer day? Great laughter is a-plenty in this outstanding production, perhaps their best yet. The performances highlighted a story of love and deception, at Sir John Falstaff’s expense.
The Merry Wives is set in the thirties, a paean to the screwball comedies of the time. It is a story of the ever boisterous Falstaff (well cast Dylan Vigus) who plans to woo and extract a generous sum of money from the Wives — think Lucy & Ethel (a suave Kate O’Toole as Mistress Page and elegant Dana DeRuyck as Mistress Ford) — via a love letter. The ladies catch on quick and devise a trick of their own — how to humiliate and antagonize Sir John. Of course, Shakespeare thickens the plot with young lovers and a jealous husband (Gus Krieger almost steals the show as Master Ford).
It is interesting to note that Shakespeare gave the woman powerful and assertive voices for the time his work was conceived. Not only does it reflect his genius, but also it proves that our innermost nature has not changed in over four hundred years.
The cast delivered in every conceivable way. It was a brilliant move by director Charles Pasternak to open the show with dance and song. It immediately drew the audience into a world of frivolity. Costume design by Jessica Pasternak was masterfully accomplished reflecting how sexy dresses of the thirties actually were.
The stage employed a simple grace, kudos to Taylor Fisher and Alex Parker. Highly recommended.
The Merry Wives of Windsor runs through July 22 at The Whitmore located at 11006 Magnolia Blvd. in North Hollywood. For more information, call (818) 325-2055 or visit www.portersofhellsgate.com.