The production – directed by Christopher Luscombe and designed by Janet Bird, who worked together on the Globe’s 2006 staging of The Comedy of Errors - opened on Wednesday (18 June 2008, previews from 8 June) and continues in rep until.
The fat knight Sir John Falstaff imagines that Mistress Ford and Mistress Page are both taken with him and so, attracted as much by their husbands’ money as their personal charms, he decides to woo them both. But the women are up to the old lecher’s tricks and turn the tables on him. Christopher Benjamin stars as Falstaff, with Serena Evans and Sarah Woodward as his two paramours.
Critics warmly welcomed this “obvious crowd-pleaser” to the Globe, where most felt – particularly given the unique demands of the venue - it had found an ideal home thanks to Christopher Luscombe’s “sunny, funny and palpably affectionate”, Janet Bird’s “inventive” design, Christopher Benjamin’s “perfect” and “irrepressible” Falstaff, Serena Evans and Sarah Woodward’s “infectious” and “joyously played” Mistresses and, last but not least, the performances of an “exceptionally strong supporting company”. This is “merriness unbridled” raved one, while another declared it “the feelgood hit of the summer”.
- by Terri Paddock