22 July 2014
The Merry Wives of Windsor
It had been difficult to imagine a performance at Allt-y-bela
without pouring rain; but this year the weather was perfect. The
sun warmed the new grass-banks of the garden theatre, and lingered
until the final acts when the light from flares took over, and the
dusk fell. For the first time, the stage was set with a back drop
of the tall barn, fronted, almost moated, by the newly walled
stream and the actors seemed to revel in it. Playing on the
trepidation of the audience with unlikely, audacious leaps across
the flowing water below.
The comedy of the play was brought out to the full by the company of players from the Living Willow Theatre. The frustrations of the balaclava clad Brooke (a disguised Ford) were a particular highlight, as was the querulous singing of the Welsh cleric, Sir Hugh Evans. The oh-so-flawed but magnificent Falstaff filled the stage, (and the laundry basket), too much of a presence to be brought very low by his final horned humiliation, by those posing as fairies.
A new theatre has been sworn in, and proved itself an inspiring setting. We look forward greatly to what happens next, and thank all that took part this year, for such a very, merry beginning.
For information about Shakespeare Link at the Living Willow Theatre visit their website here.