The Merry Wives

In their latest production, Northern Broadsides are touring Shakespeare’s ‘The Merry Wives’, and
doing what they do best, they’ve reinterpreted Shakespeare’s original, catapulting its characters into
the 1920’s.


Formed in 1992 by Artistic Director Barrie Rutter, Northern Broadsides is a multi-award winning
touring company based in the historic Dean Clough Mill in Halifax, West Yorkshire.

Productions are noted for their distinctive northern voice, strong musicality and clear narrative
journey. Northern Broadsides’ unique theatrical voice is inventive, invigorating, and accessible to all.
It was like one of those dreams when all of a sudden you can speak fluently in a language other than
your own – because there I was, following a Shakespearian play word for word and understanding
exactly what was happening from scene to scene.

Shakespearian plays aren’t always the easiest to follow and neither are their plots but Broadsides use
of northern voice suddenly opens up a world that once seemed out of reach.

The audience would erupt into sudden fits of laughter like you’d imagine the rabble chorus of guests
at The Globe would once have done.

‘I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat in Q&A’s after the show and audience members have said we
really enjoyed it – who put all the rewrites in? To which we say we never change a line of
Shakespeare. I think because we’re talking like our audience, our audience seems to understand the
play better, and that’s something I’m proud of’
said Andy Cryer in a recent conversation with
Manchester’s Finest.

Directed by Barrie Rutter, who also plays alongside the cast, The Merry Wives tells the tale of Sir
John Falstaff (Rutter), as he attempts to seduce a couple of well-to-do wives with hilarious and
unimaginable consequences.

Boasting a cast of eighteen there were many outstanding performances including Jos Vantyler who
played the comedic role of Abraham Slender and had the audience in fits of laughter with almost
every speech he made. Andy Cryer played a brilliantly flamboyant French Dr Caius, and Nicola
Sanderson and Becky Hindley carried the majority of the storyline with their performances as the
wronged wives.

Northern Broadsides are not only famed for voice but casting of actor/muso too, with actors picking
up the likes of double-bass, drum and banjo to conclude the performance in a musical number. ​
If you’re looking for a night of accessible, light-hearted Shakespearian fun then look no further.
Rutter along with the cast and crew of Northern Broadsides always deliver. If you’re not able to catch
The Merry Wives then keep a look out for future performances – Broadside productions are
consistently jam-packed with entertainment and talent.



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