This play is pure slapstick comedy. It reminds me of those good British comedy series… a sprinkling of Blackadder
’s caustic wit, mixed with a dash of Compo’s antics from Last of the Summer Wine
. Even though the play lacks the sophistication of Shakespeare’s other plays, in terms of theme, it’s still a lot of fun.
Falstaff’s the kind of guy you want to hate, because he’s old, fat and lecherous, a real sleaze always looking for new ways to make an easy buck—especially if the money comes from rich married women. Everyone in Windsor hates him. Mistress Ford states, “What tempest, I trow, threw, this whale, with so many tuns of oil in his belly, ashore at Windsor?” But still, he’s the kind of guy that no matter how much hate you have for him, you can’t help but love him at the same time. His ego is so huge that no matter how much he gets tossed about or stepped on he’s never daunted and still manages to stay afloat for another adventure. It’s great! ;)
I also love the accents in this play. Doctor Caius’ French accent was like none I’ve ever read before. It read like a mix of my grandmother’s Lithuanian accent what with all of his “vit all my heart” exclamations and an Italian accent with his “give-a dis…” commands. Sir Hugh Evans’ Welsh accent is also amusing as well… “goot worts” (good words), and taken out of context, some of his colorful phrases can seem downright dangerous: “Pless my soul; how full of cholers I am, and trempling of mind!—I shall be glad, if he have deceived me.—How melancholies I am!—I will knog his urinals about his knaves’s costard, when I have goot opportunities for the ’ork:—pless my soul!” At moments like these, I wish my copy of Shakespeare’s plays was annotated! I don’t think I’ve yet fully mastered that translation. ;)