Merry Wives mean big trouble for Falstaff

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Acclaimed Halifax company Northern Broadsides have joined forces with the award-winning New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme, to stage William Shakespeare’s uproarious medley of comedy and farce The Merry Wives.

Directed by and starring Northern Broadsides Artistic Director Barrie Rutter in the role of Sir John Falstaff, the new production arrives at The Viaduct Theatre between March 1-5.

It’s the 1920s in the North of England and Sir John Falstaff is past-his-prime and skint!

Vain rogue that he is, he attempts, rather clumsily, to seduce a couple of well-to-do wives … but Mistress Page and Mistress Ford get wise to his plan and scheme to exact revenge with hilarious and unimaginable consequences.

Northern Broadsides have previously staged The Merry Wives in in 1993 and 2001 and it is the third time Barrie Rutter has played Sir John Falstaff.

Rutter’s recent works include title roles in Jonathan Miller’s productions of King Lear and Rutherford & Son, as well as directing and featuring in Broadsides award-winning co-production with the New Vic Theatre, An August Bank Holiday Lark.

Barrie Rutter has previously worked for the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

And last year he was awarded the OBE for services to Drama.

Northern Broadsides is a unique theatre company, with a true northern voice whose home is the Viaduct Theatre within Dean Clough.

Its work is characterised by a high degree of theatrical inventiveness and robust performances from a large ensemble cast of multi-talented and charismatic northern actors who all perform in their natural voices.

For the past 22 years, it has delighted audiences here and abroad with a classic repertoire that has garnered many awards and won a loyal following.

Tickets for The Merry Wives are priced at £17/£15 (weekdays); £19/£17 (weekends)/ £16/£14 (matinee).

Restricted view prices also available.

They can be purchased at the Box Office on 01422 250 250 or online at