What an hysterical riot of a play is Shakespeare’s oh-so-bawdy The Merry Wives of Windsor. One laugh after another, silliness piled upon silliness, a general air of raunchiness from the well-played Falstaff. Dr. Caius got nearly as many laughs.
I, of course, was on the side of the great and wonderful women, who always had everything well in hand. Mistress Ford and Mistress Page, totally confident in their abilities and in their marriages, arranged everything to their complete satisfaction. Two rounds of embarrassment were not nearly enough for their revenge upon Falstaff for the dual love letters. With the aid of their husbands, the final scene found Falstaff, who thinks himself playing the God Herne, of the Wild Hunt, actually wearing the horns of the cuckold himself.
Mistress Quickly, playing for her own ends throughout, thwarted all but the lovers themselves by assisting the elopement of Ann Page and Fenton. Though Master and Mistress Page had neither one gotten their will in the matter, they happily accepted and welcomed Fenton into the family’s embrace.
A great story, ending well. Well played – rollicking is the right word. The right phrase is ‘laughing til your sides ache’.
It runs until January 2 – you still have time to see it.