Shakespeare's 'sitcom' coming to Twickenham Riverside

This Is Local London: Great fun: Claudette Williamson as Mistress Page, Phil Young as Falstaff and Lynne Harrison as Mistress Ford credit: Simone Germaine Photography Great fun: Claudette Williamson as Mistress Page, Phil Young as Falstaff and Lynne Harrison as Mistress Ford credit: Simone Germaine Photography

A play which has been described as the “closest Shakespeare came to a sitcom” will be on show by Twickenham Riverside this month.

The Merry Wives of Windsor, presented by Richmond Shakespeare Society, has been described as funny, frantic, hugely entertaining and surprisingly accessible.

The show, allegedly written at Queen Elizabeth I’s command, features one of Shakespeare’s greatest comic characters, Sir John Falstaff, who has a cunning plan to get both money and women.

However, with a story featuring a frantic array of hilarious characters, Falstaff’s plan does not quite work out.

Director John Gilbert says: “What is unique about the Merry Wives is that it’s the only play in which Shakespeare gives us characters from his own time, going about their everyday lives.

“It is also his only original plot. So we’re setting the show in the Elizabethan period in which it was written – an age we are all familiar with at present with things like the recent BBC Tudors season, and our proximity to Hampton Court. It also allows a lovely visual look to the show.

“Unlike most of Shakespeare’s plays, this one is written almost entirely in prose – making it very accessible to audiences.

“This year we are experimenting with a new lay-out that brings the audience even closer into the action and the comedy of the show, sitting on three sides of the stage.”

The July 25 performance will be the first amateur theatre performance to be audio-captioned by StageText for deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons.

The Merry Wives of Windsor; Fountain Gardens, Champions Wharf, The Embankment, Twickenham Riverside, Sunday, July 21 to Saturday, July 27, from 7.45pm, plus additional matinee on Saturday, July 27 at 3pm, but no performance on Wednesday, July 24.

Tickets start from £10 and are available from the box office on 020 8744 0547 or richmondshakespeare.org.uk.

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