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A View from the Cliff: “Merry Wives” is cheerful choice

Collect some current reality TV shows. Add some slapstick 1950s sitcoms.

Stir broadly with Shakespearean dialogue. Mix vigorously and pour. Your final concoction is Theater 2020’s latest and best farce entitled “The Real Merry Housewives of Windsor, Connecticut!”

Once again, the one/two theatrical punch of Director/Choreographer Judy Jarosz and Lead Actor/lighting designer David Fuller is a nonstop knockout. As Jarosz says, “It is a tribute to Shakespeare’s timelessness that so many of his plays still ring true in a modern setting…even 2015 Connecticut!”

Using original dialogue, wearing modern garb, the actors offer a riotous version of “The Merry Wives of Windsor.” There are plenty of cartoonish caricatures, puns, pratfalls and pranks. The entire cast is truly hilarious.

David Fuller is the lead as morbidly obese and arrogantly vain Sir John Falstaff.  He’s just perfect as he very mistakenly expects to conquer two married ladies with his nonexistent physique and even less winning personality. Well, Mistress Ford (Elyse Beyer) and Mistress Page (Klahr Thorsen) will turn the tables with a smirk and a smile. Brava!

Merry husbands Frank Ford (Mark Rimer) and Thomas Page (Bill Correy) try to make sense of the comedic chaos as they unravel their wives’ various schemes. Beautiful Gemma Dawson as Pastor Evans provides excellent theatrical support.

In fact, every character gives 100 percent of his or her energy and talent for this extremely watchable production. Some give way to complete physical comedy while others rely on the strength of the dialogue. Whatever the formula—it works!

Secondary story lines include misguided suitors and dialogue peppered with sarcasm and double entendres. These subplots are equally entertaining thanks to the actors’ powerful plunge into the farcical fantasies that follow.

For example, charismatic Alicia Giangrisostomi as Pistol reacts emphatically even when her character is essentially in the background. Kudos as well to Zack Gafin as Slender, Corrin Juliet Carlson as Nym, Kelsey Shapira as Ann Page/Rugby, Anna Stefanic as Simple/Fenton, Eileen Glenn as Mistress Quickly and Dennis Vargas as Dr. Caius. Behind the scenes swagger goes to Cynthia McDonald (Costume Design), Jason Wynn (Composer), and Marcina Zaccaria and Irene Faith George (Stage Managers).

For information on this and future productions call 718-541-2395, surf to www.theater2020.com or find them on Facebook and Twitter.  As always, save me a seat on the aisle.

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