This Merry Wives of Windsor travels from Elizabeth I to Elvis to Elves

Although retired since 2014, I still relish opportunities to teach, write, and share opinions.

Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor is now on the Main Stage of the Labuda Arts Center until July 7. The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival is now in the midst of a very busy season. Located at DeSales University, 2755 Station Avenue, in Center Valley, PA, it is surrounded by bucolic landscapes, evoking what Windsor may have been like in those past centuries. 

The day appeared to be what was once called “unsettled.” Sunny for most of the day, and seasonably hot, the closer to the 7:30 curtain it looked to be, yes, yet again, A Dark and Stormy Night. Those arriving early saw only clouds shooting by in the sky. However, after a while the lights in the theatre lobby phased in and out, until all light was gone. Light again, then dark again. It was only when looking outside that we could plainly see a hurricane with violent winds blowing gales outside the theatre. Were we going to have a performance? We had to wait and see. Even the house lights were out for a while until all was set right. Everyone sighed a sigh of relief. 

The early curtain had to be delayed because we were told all the circuits had ro be reset. Finally, theatre magic occurred. Award winning actor Scott Greer entered and sang a love song, dressed as Elvis Presley, complete with a wig at least eight inches thick. He was accompanied by a rock band with drums and guitars. Eventually, the play slipped out of its 1960s possibility into the tried and true plot. Scott Greer, as Sir John Falstaff, quickly lost the burdensome wig, and played the part as written. It was good to see the talented actor Dan Hodge as Pistol, one of Sir John’s henchmen,dressed modly in long hair, dark glasses and white, flare-bottom jeans. Throughout, he assumed an air of one lost in a psychedelic haze. Another fine portrayal was by Tyler Borneo as Simple. Dressed more like a comic book superhero with legs of different colors, he was a dynamo. He truly embodied the role of swift obedience; so much so that at one moment one of his shoes flew from his foot across the stage. 

It must be said that the spoken dialogue was hard to hear. Many of the actors spoke in a conversational way, which was not miked. If it were, the amplification did not work. It wasn’t until the brilliant Akeem Davis burst onto the stage with diction and emotion to burn down the house. It was as if the play had finally come alive with his entrance as  Mr. Ford.  

Christian Tuffy, was the tall, dark, and handsome Fenton. Amazingly, he is also listed as Mr. Greer’s understudy for the role of Falstaff!  Tuffy is a freshly-minted thespian from DeSales University. Mr. Borneo is still a Sophomore. Both young men are splendid actors, and will surely make outstanding actors in the years to come.

Other estimable actors with many years of stagecraft to their credit included Anthony Lawton as Parson Hugh, Ian Merrill Peakes as Dr. Caius, and Karen Peakes as Mrs. Page. Alex Bechtel composed the occasional songs and was Music Director. Matt Pfieffer directed.

The Merry Wives of Windsor is a charming, always amusing play we rarely have a chance to see live on stage. Go and see it. If you love Shakespeare, comedy, great acting, love stories, elves attacking humans in the woods at midnight, whatever, you will enjoy this production of The Merry Wives of Windsor,

The Merry Wives of Windsor will be followed by productions of The Color Purple, Cymbeline, Winnie the Pooh & Friends, and more. For tickets and information call 610-282-9455, or visit .

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