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STAGE REVIEW

Creative cast makes ‘Wives’ more the merrier

By Don Aucoin
Globe Staff / December 13, 2011
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Lore has it that Queen Elizabeth became so enamored of Falstaff that she expressed a wish to see a comedy built entirely around him, and that Shakespeare complied by writing “The Merry Wives of Windsor.’’ Whether that account is true or not, the Falstaff of “Merry Wives’’ does stand as a purely comic figure, and the play itself has a tossed-off, everything-plus-the-kitchen-sink quality. That randomness and slightness has liberated director Steven Barkhimer and his well-chosen cast, including Richard Snee as Falstaff, to simply cut loose in a creative, freewheeling, and very entertaining production of “Merry Wives’’ by Actors’ Shakespeare Project.

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THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR Play by: William Shakespeare

Directed by Steven Barkhimer

Sets, Jenna McFarland-Lord. Lights, Kenneth Helvig. Costumes, Rebecca Butler. Sound, Adam Howarth. Choreography, Susan Dibble. Music director, Bill Barclay.

Presented by Actors” Shakespeare Project, Davis Square Theatre, Somerville. Through Jan. 1. Tickets $33-$50, 866-811-4111, www.actorsshakespeare project.org