Spiro to make her RSC debut in Merry Wives

Published: 11 April 2024
Reporter: Steve Orme

Samantha Siro takes the role of Mistress Page
Siubhan Harrison who will play Mistress Ford
The cast of The Merry Wives of Windsor

Samantha Spiro will make her Royal Shakespeare Company debut as Mistress Meg Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor which will open in Stratford in summer 2024.

She has twice picked up Olivier Awards. In 2001, she won best actress in a musical for her performance in the Donmar Warehouse production of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along. In 2010, she lifted the award in the same category for her performance in Hello, Dolly! at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park.

Siubhan Harrison will also make her RSC debut in The Merry Wives of Windsor. She will play Mistress Alice Ford. John Hodgkinson will take the role of Sir John Falstaff and Richard Goulding will be Frank Ford.

Blanche McIntyre, who directs, said, “The Merry Wives of Windsor is one of Shakespeare's most underrated plays. Its mixture of comedy and vulnerability foreshadows great writers such as Alan Ayckbourn and its farcical set pieces are the forerunners of classic sitcom.

“I'm setting the play in a contemporary small town as I think its gossipy lack of privacy, its suburban values and its overheated town politics are timeless. I've wanted to direct The Merry Wives of Windsor for a long time and I’m delighted to be working on it with the sensational company we've assembled.”

The rest of the cast comprises Jessica Alade (Simple), Omar Bynon (Pistol), John Dougall (Shallow), Riess Fennell (Robert and student), Emily Houghton (host of the Garter), Ian Hughes (Sir Hugh Evans), Wil Johnson (George Page), Yasemin Junqueira (student), John Leader (Fenton), David Mara (Rugby), Tadeo Martinez (Robin), Shazia Nicholls (Mistress Quickly), Yasemin Özdemir (Nym), David Partridge (Bardolph and John), Jason Thorpe (Dr Caius), Tara Tijani (Anne Page) and Patrick Walshe McBride (Slender).

The creative team includes set and costume designer Robert Innes Hopkins, lighting designer Malcolm Rippeth, composer Tim Sutton, sound designer Emma Laxton, movement director Ingrid Mackinnon, fight director Philip d’Orleans and casting director Matthew Dewsbury.

The Merry Wives of Windsor will run in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford from Wednesday 5 June until Saturday 7 September. Press night will be Wednesday 12 June. It will play in repertoire with Sheridan’s The School for Scandal, which takes to the stage from Tuesday 2 July until Friday 6 September, with some of the cast appearing in both shows.

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