Review: Shakespeare Demystified – The Merry Wives of Windsor

The drama troupe Shakespeare Demystified made their second appearance at PenangPAC this past weekend by bringing their latest endeavor, “The Merry Wives of Windsor”, to our fair island. I first saw this group last year as they demystified “The Merchant of Venice.” I thoroughly enjoyed their 2012 performance, so I was hoping for more magic as they brought back the bard. I was not disappointed.

First a word about demystifying Shakespeare. Their goal is to stay true to the language of the bard, but to create abbreviated versions of his plays with minimal sets while sticking to the main plot only thereby eliminating extraneous material. The formula works. Very well, actually.

In a relaxed, informal setting, the players explain the main issues of the plot, to make sure people are following along, and then they get into Shakespeare’s rich dialogue and interesting plot twists. The Merry Wives of Windsor has the (kind of) lovable plump knight, Sir John Falstaff. ┬áThe wives that he tried to woo for their money plot against him making him out to be the fool in the end.

The play is funny and light-hearted and the Shakespeare Demystified crew did a splendid job of bringing it to life. The audience was thoroughly engaged and the Q & A session afterward even furthered the message they were trying to convey – that Shakespeare’s plays can be done in simple and relevant ways to a modern audience that is generally scared of his works.

I highly recommend their productions, and I look forward to what they will produce for next year.