The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
Director Christopher Luscombe
Cast Incudes; Christopher Benjamin, Serena Evans, Andrew Havill, Sarah Woodward
In Janet Bird's clever design, which offers a keeping-up-with-the-Joneses walkway through the audience, complete with a neat display of bedding plants, it is original Tudor rather than mock Tudor that is under scrutiny.
The intelligently apt design by Janet Bird plays to the comedy's sense of Elizabethan middle-class domesticity. With the facade of a Tudor house in the background, the bridged, extended set curves out into audience with a suburban shrubbery, like a pleasant, landscaped garden. Picturesque in a conventional, homely way, the outpost of the stage is overturned during the fairy revels to show the Windsor Forest oak. The sequence is then played as a masque, with all the traditional grotesquery, including costumes with outsized fish heads and outrageously unkempt straw cuffs and ruffs.
Janet Bird has created one of the Globe's most ambitious and attractive designs with a large additional playing area in the pit, complete with ornamental garden; and an open gallery for musicians and actors.
Bristish Theatre Guide