FOR AN EXQUISITE DAY AT THE THEATRE… THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR SHOWING AT THE WILL GEER THEATRICUM BOTANICUM IS A MUST SEE!
Hello and welcome to Thespian Thoughts for theatre reviews. I’m Kristina Nikols with Actors Entertainment.
On Sunday, June 19th I had the pleasure of watching the afternoon showing of Shakespeare’s comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor at the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum. Located just 35 minutes from Hollywood this outdoor, 299-seat theater is surrounded by nature—making it a fine getaway from the city.
Directed by LA Weekly Career Achievement Award recipient Ellen Geer, who is also the company’s Artistic Director, The Merry Wives of Windsor flows quickly and keeps the audience absorbed–explosive laughter and even claps of approval occur throughout the play. The environment and stage are used optimally; surrounding trees and dirt pathways enhance smooth transitions between scenes as well as create a feeling of travel from one location to the next. The natural landscape lends itself beautifully for the final scene in Windsor forest.
Elizabethan costumes by Sara Gray bring the era to life. At one point Mistress Ford, played by Elizabeth Tobias, appears to glide across stage—her tea-cup shaped skirt adds to this effect and to her prim, ladylike demeanor. Costumes and scenery are utilized well to enhance audience comprehension; signs designate locations and couples wear color-coordinated costumes to make relationships clear.
Alan Blumenfeld (Falstaff) and Melora Marshall (Mistress Quickly) are long time company members who flawlessly commit to their characters. Ted Barton amuses in his jealous rage as Master Ford, and the Merry Wives, Elizabeth Tobias and Karen Reed, make an excellent duo with a convincing rapport. Elizabeth Tobias’s rendition of Mistress Ford is delightful and comical with her surprising and adorable outbursts of sound and expression. Understudy Jonathan Blandino does a fantastic job playing the Frenchman, Doctor Caius. A crowd favorite, he steals scenes with his comedic timing and character posturing.
Visiting the Theatricum to watch The Merry Wives of Windsor can be more than just a theater experience. Two Friday night shows taking place July 22nd and 29th will include a themed dinner Buffet, and visitors can always picnic at the “Shakespeare Garden” where Will Geer planted all the trees and plants mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays. Audience members also receive 10% off at The Inn of the Seventh Ray—a charming restaurant located just up the street from the theater. Here you will find organic food and wine options as well as a relaxing atmosphere that includes creek side seating.
The Merry Wives of Windsor is just one of many shows happening at the Theatricum this summer. To learn more about the season as well as their educational programs please see their website: www.theatricum.com
So, dress in layers, grab some cushions, and head out this summer to Topanga Canyon to enjoy a beautiful day of theater at the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum!
I’m Kristina Nikols with Thespian Thoughts. See you there!
THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR
By William Shakespeare
Crystal Marie Clark
Christian La Monte
Gerald C. Rivers*
Taylor Jackson Ross
Dylan Booth Vigus
Noelle Adames, Jonathan Blandino, Bill Durham, Liz Eldridge, Adele Olender, Chris Parker, Andrew Ravani, William Reinbold, Franc Ross*
Director: Ellen Geer
Choreographer: Melora Marshall
Stage Manager: Kim Cameron*
Assistant Director: Hala Baki
Assistant Stage Manager: Juliana McBride
Costume Designer: Sara Gray
Properties Master: Sarah M. Sowell
Sound Designer: Ian Flanders
Lighting Designer: Zachary Moore
*Actors Equity Member
The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum
1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd.
Topanga, CA 90290
(midway between Pacific Coast Highway and the Ventura Freeway)
June 4 – September 10, 2011
Dates and times vary. Please see the website for additional information.
Adults: $32 (lower tier—wooden seats); $20 (upper tier—cement seats)
Seniors (60+): $25/$18
Students, Military Veterans, AEA Members: $20/$15
Children (7-12): $10
Chidren 6 and under: Free
Featuring traditional British fare with Windsor wenches and country lads in attendance.
Friday, July 22
Friday, July 29
6:30 p.m. dinner in the gardens; 8p.m. performance
Play & Dinner combos: $50 (adults); $22.50 (children 12 and under)
Includes dinner and play; separate admission also available.
Reservations required in advance.
$5 in the lot.
Free on Topanga Canyon Blvd.
Audience members are advised to dress casually (layers are helpful due to temperature changes) and to bring cushions for bench seating.
Cushions are available to rent for $1.
Snacks are available at the Hamlet Hut.
Picnickers are welcome before and after performances.
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