ISC is always good with comedy and they excelled themselves last night. Their staging and performances cleared a path through the overgrowth of characters and plots.
It was like a reunion to see all the familiar faces on stage. Danny Campbell was a good Falstaff. Lorenzo Gonzallez (Dr. Caius) is a notable comic addition. Sean Pritchett, happily decided not to risk underplaying the Funny Welsh Accent. David Melville seized the part of Ford and went to town with it—more funny accents, bad wigs, a succession of tirades and slapstick.
Ford and Falstaff are complementary opposites: child / adult, chaotic / uptight, cheerful / suspicious, sloppy / punctilious. But the thing they share is that they’re both overpowered by greed. The difference is that while Falstaff’s greed is an open, childlike sense of entitlement, Ford embodies the variety of greed that is furtive, possessive, suspicious, neurotic and “adult”. He wants to possess, control, and above all discover.
While Falstaff undergoes personal humiliation in the laundry basket and dressed as an old woman, Ford undergoes the public humiliation of his publicly-aired suspicions being publicly proved false. Like Falstaff, the humiliations educate him into a more balanced attitude.
And in the end, Sir John is welcomed back into their community. He is not shunned. No one is. Instead of King Henry’s “I know thee not, old man” the end brings “Sir John and all” invited to laugh over a country fire. Comedy as reconciliation and good fellowship. Imagine!