The Merry Wives of Windsor/Holyrood

Aug 10 2019 | By More

★★★☆☆   Shakespeare transported

The Royal Scots Club (Venue 241): Mon 5 – Sat 10 Aug 2019
Review by Joy Watters

Let’s get one thing straight right away, EGTG’s show at the Royal Scots Club is not an expose of the fun and frolics of the female members of the Scottish parliament.

No, Shakespeare’s only comedy set in England is transported north of the border, to the home of the Fringe no less, and updated to the 1950s.

Shea Gardner and Chris Allan. Pic: EGTG

As an Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Group production, there is the luxury of a large cast charged with conveying the come-uppance of penniless, immoral Sir John Falstaff at the hands of the good old Merry Wives. In addition there are suitors aplenty, jealous husbands and baddies owed money by the knight.

Falstaff decides to pursue two wives of rich merchants to solve his money problems. The women are onto him pretty sharpish and decide to have a bit of fun at his expense.

Chris Allan’s Falstaff sports brothel creepers and a teddy boy jacket, clearly a wrong’un. The seductive Mistress Ford and determined Mistress Page as played by Ramlah Yavar and Helen Goldie, make for a successful double act.

a glimpse of young love

Amidst all underhand action lies an antidote, a glimpse of young love, where the girl gets the boy of her dreams rather than her parents’ choice.

Director Angela Harkness Robertson has her work cut out in this production which boasts a cast of fourteen and a host of plots and sub-plots. Physical comedy in the maltreatment of Falstaff is to the fore; he is finally brought to his knees after the women organise a lovely night away with the fairies.

Problems do arise in the verbal thrust and parry from time to time as the interaction between characters becomes fractured.

Running time: One hour 35 minutes (no interval)
The Royal Scots Club, 29-31 Abercromby Place, EH3 6QE (Venue 241)
Monday 5 – Saturday 10 Aug 2019
Evenings: 7pm.
Tickets and details:

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  1. Suzanne Senior says:

    I saw this play last night and feel that the review is somewhat incomplete.
    Although originally sceptical about whether it would work to set it in an Edinburgh steamie, when I saw it my doubts were dispelled. It was great fun, largely due to the fast pacing and nice comic touches – I particularly enjoyed the portrayal of Falstaff’s treacherous henchman Pistol, who never hesitated to pick a pocket or two. The actress really created her character, as did all the cast.
    Whilst mindful of Shakespeare’s script, the director created a world which was almost Dickensian in character, with the aforementioned Pickpocket Pistol, and with many other characters taking backhanders as if they were sweeties. Ford’s alias, Brook, reminded me of Flash Harry from the St. Trinian’s movies!
    All in all I thought the production was inventive and well-acted, which made for an enjoyable night of theatre.