Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society winds up season with Merry Wives of Windsor at Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens


Covid-19 has pretty much crippled entertainment as we know it. But it has lead to artists experimenting with new ways to get their art out to people.

Most theatre companies hJenna Lowe as Falstaff in Merry Wives of Windsor. Photo by Richard Ameryave gone online or broadcasted through social media. The Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance society has also done that, but they were also first out of the gate to have a live performance of this summer’s production of the Merry Wives of Windsor.

 The dozen cast members performed in front of a live audience once this summer and finished their season with a sold out performance of the Shakespeare farce at the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens, Aug. 6.

 I forgot how much I missed live theatre, and even more, being part of the troupe.

 So I joined the sold out audience of 75 at the Gardens, who were laughing and chuckling throughout the comedy.

 The talented cast, some playing multiple characters performed director John Poulsen’s abridged reader’s theatre version of the comedy.Cole Fetting in Merry Wives of Windsor. Photo by Richard Amery
 The cast as the audience sat six feet apart from each other.
 The cast switched costumes and wigs as well as  cracked Shakespearian dirty jokes as the audience laughed appreciatively.

 There were a lot of familiar faces including highlight’s from last year’s production of Macbeth including Trevor Loman, the always beaming Chelsea Fitzsimmons and veterans like the scene stealing Cole Fetting, Chris Kyle Peterson, Jeff Graham and Andrew Legg.

 The cast also featured some talented newcomers including Jenna Lowe, as the mischievous, roguish Falstaff, trying to seduce Mistress Ford and Mistress Page.

 There was plenty of innuendo, lots of wordplay, and the actors’ animated  expressions helped reflect the physical  comedy without actually touching each other.

Andrew Legg performingin Merry Wives of Windsor. Photo by Richard Amery A couple of highlights of that were Falstaff disguised as an old women in a basket of clothes, getting thrashed by Cole Fetting’s Ford, as well as Falstaff getting pinched “all the colours of the rainbow” and burnt by  by fairies at the end of the okay by the cast, whirling in placed and disguised in theatrical masks.

 As expected, it was tough to hear some of the dialogue in open air and without using mics, but it was impressive they were able to put on a production at all in post-Covid circumstances.

 And the audience appreciated it, laugChris Kyle Peterson in Merry Wives of Windsor. photo by Richard Ameryhing along with the jokes.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor