Wives make merry at the Devonshire Park Theatre

merry wives of windsor at the devonshire park
merry wives of windsor at the devonshire park

One of Shakespeare’s best loved comic characters, Sir John Falstaff, is once again set to seduce audiences around the country in a glorious production of The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Touring venues around the UK, the play comes to the Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne from Thursday 24 – Saturday 26 October. The play is presented by Creative Cow, in association with Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre.

It is said that when Queen Elizabeth I saw Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, she laughed so much at the character of Sir John Falstaff she ordered his continued existence at her court!

The result was The Merry Wives of Windsor, a play that provides audiences with generous helpings of wit, broad farce, trickery and true love.

Less often performed than some of Shakespeare’s comedies and written mostly in prose instead of verse or poetry, the current tour provides a welcome opportunity to see this fast-paced and consummately skilled production by fresh young theatre company, Creative Cow.

The plot is built around the puffed up and degenerate Sir John Falstaff, a Knight of the Garter, who is seized with the outrageous idea that to seduce two of Windsor’s wealthy merry wives will prove his virility and give him access to their money.

The assignations are made, but with female cunning and a devilish plot involving their husbands, Falstaff is repeatedly tricked by the women. He is hidden in a laundry basket full of dirty washing and thrown into the Thames.

He is further duped and terrified in the eerie moonlit shadows of a blasted oak in Windsor Great Park to which he is lured by a band of ruthless townsfolk seeking to revel in the old man’s misery.

Meanwhile, the beautiful daughter of one of the ‘merry wives’ must employ her own brand of trickery to attain true love. With modern themes of infidelity, female empowerment and social status this will appeal to Shakespeare fans and new comers alike.

The Merry Wives of Windsor is at the Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne from 24 – 26 October, nightly performances at 7.45pm, Matinees Friday at 2pm, Saturday 2.30pm, tickets from £14.50 to £20.50 are available from the box office on 01323 412000 or book online and choose your seat at www.eastbournetheatres.co.uk