Friday, September 04, 2020

'The Merry Wives of Windsor' by William Shakespeare, adapted by Adam Nichols

4 September 2020

Last Sunday we were at the Roman Theatre of Verulamium in St Albans for our first experience of live theatre since the start of the lockdown, watching Adam Nichols’ adaptation of ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’ performed by OVO Theatre as part of the Maltings Open Air Theatre Festival. This was Shakespeare as 1980s jukebox musical, with the actors forming an on-stage rock band, tenuously squeezing a huge number of iconic 80s hits into the story of Sir John Falstaff getting his comeuppance. It was very silly and lots of fun with some great singing and wonderful choreography. The production make good use of the unusual outdoor space, with the audience on pairs of seats (each 2m apart from the next pair) in the middle of the ruins of the Roman Theatre. The mixture of a very specific 1980s setting with numerous references to Coronavirus felt slightly odd, but nobody really minded. This was feelgood slapstick, impressively delivered. And the experience of being part of a live audience again was surprisingly emotional.

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