The Merry Wives of Windsor

Beneath this storyboard - photos by Keith Gould - are some more pictures, some rehearsal shots, some from the performance, taken by our friend Olivia White.


Huge thanks to you both for all your time and effort in getting these shots!

'I thought you actor's...articualtion and projection...did an excellent job of making sense 

of the language for the audience. It was also fantastic to see their relationships 

were clear even when they weren't speaking'


Helen Leblique - Theatre Director RSC

Image description
Image description

Aah Windsor, 1954; a new Queen on the throne for barely two years, the good people of England beginning to feel that all that has gone before in the previous fifteen years was but a bad dream and that they, truly, had never had it so good.

Children play round the village green, the young people (soon to be called teenagers and succumb to Bill Haley and the Comets) are free to picnic and talk about the latest trends and fashions...and, sssh, boyfriends!

Image description
Image description
Image description

Top Left: Justice Shallow and his nephew Slender arrive in Windsor to meet with Master Page (Top Right) and the Reverend Sir Huw Evans (Left) to discuss the possibility of Slender wooing and afiancing Master Page's daughter, the lovely Anne.


Master Page is very much in favour of the match, but his wife, Mistress Page, would much prefer Anne to wed the French doctor, Master Caius.


Anne however, is completely besotted with Master Fenton, a young American gentleman, who is disapproved of by both her parents!


Justice Shallow also has a score to settle with Sir john Falstaff, who is in attendance at the gathering and who also has, it transpires, ulterior motives.

Image description
Image description

Falstaff meets and greets Mistress Page (left) and Mistress Ford.

Justice Shallow confronts Falstaff

Image description
Image description

Evans (who also has a fancy for Mistress Ann) and Shallow persuade Slender that Anne Page is precisely the girl for him and with his servant, Susan Simple, Slender begins to try to woo and impress Anne. He fails miserably on both counts!

Image description

Falstaff is staying at The Garter Inn with his old friend the Host, who is deeply involved with a prank being played upon Reverend Huw Evans and Doctor Cauis.

Falstaff is very much down on his luck and intends to shed his followers to ease his financial burden. 

But he has a plan...

Image description

With his two cronies, Nym and Pistol, Falstaff tells them his plan to woo both Mistress Ford and Mistress Page, gain access to their husband's money and generally cause mayhem. He tells them to deliver identical letters to the women, declaring his love for both of them. Hedging his bets, he doesn't count on Nym and Pistol telling him to take a running jump and then deciding to tell both husband's of Falstaff's plans! 

Not to be thwarted, Falstaff sends his servant Robin to deliver the letters to the ladies.

Mistress Page and Mistress Ford receive the letters and, disgusted by his advances, plan revenge by pretending to fall for his 'charms'. They employ the services of Mistress Quickly to deceive Falstaff.

Image description
Image description
Image description

Mistress Quickly agrees to help the Wives. She is, however, also employed as a go-between for Dr. Caius (her employer), Slender and Master Fenton, all wanting to wed Anne Page. But Quickly knows which of these Anne really wants...Master Fenton.


Caius, outraged by all the interference, challenges Evans to a duel which everyone knows about and the Host instigates the plan to lead the protaganists a merry dance and thus avert any blood-spilling in the 

name of true-love.



Image description

Nym and Pistol, meanwhile, have told Masters Page and Ford of Falstaff's plans. Page seems unpreturbed by it, but Ford is insanely jealous and seeks to discover how and when Falstaff is to meet his wife. He engages the help of the Host and dons a disguise, Master Brook, and sets out to persuade Falstaff to woo Mistress Ford on his behalf. He offers Falstaff huge amounts of money so to do. Falstaff accepts; tells 'Brook' when he is meeting Mistress Ford, having been told by Mistress Quickly that Mistress Ford is much enamoured of him, and thus the trap is laid. Or so 'Brook' believes

Image description
Image description

Falstaff sets off to woo Mistress Ford, completely unaware that she and Mistress Page intend to make a fool of him and that 'Master Brook' also intends to catch Falstaff out and expose his wife as being unfaithful. Meanwhile, in the fields round Windsor, the Host and his friends are leading Evans and Caius a merry dance and averting a blood-letting!

Image description
Image description
Image description
Image description

Evans and Caius meet and square up to each other; Caius is the skilful swordsman, Evans merely trying to impress Anne Page with his bravado. The host steps in and reveals that he has deliberately led the pair astray and that they should forget the ridiculous feud, let Anne decide who she prefers and that the two men should become friends. Which they do.


Meanwhile, in Windsor town, Falstaff has arrived at Mistress Ford's and commences with his wooing. It was never going to end well!

OLIVIA'S PICTURES

Image description
Image description
Image description
Image description
Image description
Image description

Top to Bottom - Left to Right: 

Clare Purdy - Mistress Anne Page: Anthony Chamberlain - Master Ford/Brook: Max Brandt - Falstaff

Joe Tapper - Master Slender: Ben Hamilton - Pistol: Gil Garland - Justice Shallow

Image description
Image description
Image description
Image description
Image description

Top to Bottom, Left to Right:

Val Ruddle - Mistress Host: Jon Miles - Master Page: Sally Feetenby - Mistress Quickly

Freya Hoban - Robyn: Jacob Seldon - Master Fenton


Image description
Image description

                    James Osben - Rev Huw Evans                                                               Gina Carter - Mistress Page