Inn on the Park, St Albans, 28th June to 7th July 2012
Our Herts Advertiser review - along with misprint!
"After several years watching Rooftop Theatre Company put on Shakespeare in Verulamium Park, I have finally worked out what makes them so different - it is their sheer exuberance whatever the weather.
No matter if it rains, blows a howling gale or is just plain cold, they throw themselves so wholeheartedly into whatever Shakespeare play they are putting on that they suceed in making their productions fun regardless of the elements.
This year's offering, The Merry Wives of Windsor, was true to form. With what one would have expected to be a balmy June night turning out to be both cold and windy, Rooftop still made the play funny and eminently watchable.
Rooftop was set up to give an energetic and physical approach to theatre and have been performing Shakespeare in St Albans since 2007, invariably in modern dress and with 21st Century scenarios slipped in - usually reducing the audience to laughter.
In The Merry Wives of Windsor, it was a boxing bout to the accompaniment of Eye of the Tiger between Simon Nader's Dr Caius and Bob Reitemeier's Sir Hugh which produced the quirky additional scene that has become Rooftop's trademark.
Co-directors Simon Bolton and Paul Sayers know their audience at the Inn on the Park pretty well by now and are generally sure-footed, although one scene might have been better omitted with children in the audience.
They utilise the outside area of the park's cafe to the maximum with characters hiding among the audience and in Merry Wives, actually becoming part of the play at one point.
The story of Sir John Falstaff's foolish attempt to woo two married women and the inevitable repercussions features the usual excellent Rooftop cast with Philippa Tatham as Mistress Quickly in particular giving a virtuoso performance, much of it spent half dressed - brave girl!
Oscar Blend's Falstaff was perfectly cast - a bear of a man who captured the type of chap who thinks he is utterly irresistable even if the mirror tells a different story.
Sally Gilfillan as Mistress Page and Lisa Castle as Mistress Ford, the two objects of his affections, are at their best when plotting Falstaff's downfall.
And special mention needs to be made of young Sam Reitemeier who plays Jack Rugby. Sam has performed in several Rooftop productions and he scuttles around like a busy little bee gluing the production together.
The Merry Wives of Windsor continues Rooftop's delightful run of open-air Skakespeare - all it needs to make a perfect evening is a spot of sunshine.
It can be seen tonight (Thursday), tomorrow and Saturday, with tickets available from www.rooftoptheatre.co.uk".
Madeleine Burton 5th July 2012
Mistress Ford - Lisa Castle Mistress Page - Sally Gilfillan Master Ford - Matt Broad Master Page - Trevor Murphy Anne Page/ Nym - Fiona Belchamber Falstaff - Oscar Blend Mistress Quickly - Philippa Tatham Fenton - Chris Paddon Sir Hugh Evans - Bob Reitemeier CBE Jack Rugby - Sam Reitemeier Host - Simon Boughey Dr Caius - Simon Nader Shallow - Simon Bolton Slender - Paul Sayers
Director - Simon Bolton Producer/ Assistant Director - Paul Sayers