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Monday, June 27, 2011

269. The Merry Wives Of Windsor

    What a good idea. Bring performances of Shakespeare at London's Globe Theatre to the masses by means of cinema.
    But my main surprise tonight at Derby's Showcase De Lux was how few people were there.
    Then I realised those school, college or even university students of the Bard are immersed in exam season.
    Wouldn't it have made more sense to put on this season of shows at a different time of year?
    I guess, aside of students,  I am exactly the type of person that The Globe and Arts Alliance Media are targeting with this experiment.
    And my experience tonight was a little split.
    First of all the tourist type video about the Globe was so dull I was dropping off to sleep.
    It acted as the opposite to a warm-up act for the main event, The Merry Wives Of Windsor.
    Indeed, because I was having to concentrate on the language and had just had my first day at work for two weeks, eyelids were growing heavy in the first half.
    Even a buffoon like me could recognise, however, the quality of the performances and, fortunately, the sparkling comedy snapped me out of my near-slumber.
    The farce of Falstaff and co, reminded me so much of some of the 1970s very best comedians. I could see elements of John Cleese in Master Ford and even a bit of Benny Hill in Falstaff.
    I reckon I have only laughed out loud at the cinema more during Tangled or TT3D.
    I shall not go into the plot of Merry Wives because I must have been one of the few people on the planet who did not know it.
    What I will say is that Christopher Benjamin is a wonderfully jolly Falstaff and he is brilliantly supported by Serena Evans (remember Rowan Atkinson's other half in the Thin Blue Line), Sarah Woodward and Andrew Havill.
    I was trying for ages to place the actor who played Master Page and have now discovered it was Michael Garner, who was Geoffrey 'Poison' Pearce in London's Burning.
    So, The Merry Wives was great and The Globe looks such a marvellous experience, with the audience standing in a pit in front of the stage, that I want to go.
    But did it make great cinema? Of that, I'm not so sure.
    It simply had no chance of reflecting the intimate atmosphere of The Globe.
    This is superb theatre and if I had watched there, I'm sure I would have been tempted with a 10/10. Watching it on the big screen after a 20-minute tourist video means I'm going to give in 7.5/10.
    That said it was great to discover another Shakespeare play and it's a shame more people weren't there to see it.

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269. The Merry Wives Of Windsor

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