The Merry Wives of Windsor: Arkangel Shakespeare Audible Audiobook – Original recording
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It is said that Queen Elizabeth gave Shakespeare two weeks to write this play that showcases her favorite comedic character, Sir John Falstaff.
The dissolute Falstaff plans to seduce Mistress Ford and Mistress Page, two "Merry Wives of Windsor," there by gaining access to their husbands' wealth. The two women have the old rogue's measure, however, and Falstaff's plots lead only to his own humiliation. But the merry wives themselves fall prey to plotting as their plans to prevent Mistress Page's daughter Anne from marrying the young man she loves are frustrated in their turn.
Dinsdale Landen is Falstaff. Sylvestra Le Touzel plays Mistress Ford and Penny Downie is Mistress Page. Nicholas Woodeson is Ford, Phillip Jackson is Page, and Clive Swift plays Justice Shallow.
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|Listening Length||2 hours and 14 minutes|
|Narrator||Dinsdale Landen, Sylvestra Le Touzel, Penny Downie, Nicholas Woodeson, Phillip Jackson, Clive Swift|
|Audible.com Release Date||May 09, 2014|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #61,750 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#27 in Ancient, Classical & Medieval Drama
#45 in Shakespeare Plays
#108 in Ancient & Classical Dramas & Plays
Reviewed in the United States on July 8, 2011
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Sir John Falstaff, the lovable rogue from The Henriad cycle of plays, needs money and he intends to get it from a rich wife. Just to be sure he gets something, he attempts to woo two women rather than just one. Never mind that both women are already married; this is not a problem for the shameless Sir John. He sends love letters to both women but puts them in the wrong envelopes, so that each gets the one meant for the other. OK, these middle aged women might be a little starved for affection from their husbands but they aren't stupid and they would have seen through Falstaff's ruse anyway.
His mistake however does give them the chance to have a little fun at his expense. Falstaff appears at one woman's home to press his suit. Her husband arrives unexpectedly, and Falstaff hides in a basket that is then carried out. It's a bit heavy...
Falstaff and his ridiculous plan provides the comic situation, the confusion that ensues provides the slapstick, foreigners with Welsh and French accents provide ethnic humor. And in the end, Falstaff receives a well deserved lesson.
There is nothing wrong with this play, it's a very good, very funny comedy and as close to pure comedy as Shakespeare gets with the exception of The Comedy Of Errors. So why don't critics like it? Probably because they expect more from Falstaff. He fears getting caught by the husband but that does not keep him from courting his wife. He offers no catechism in this play about the evils of adultery or of the dark side of love, unlike in Henry IV Part One where he cautions the audience against how honor in war leads to injury or death. The fat man in this play offers us a barrel of laughs but no wisdom at all.
Vincent Poirier, Tokyo