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Costume worn by Richard Wilson
Director: Gregory Doran
Designer: Robert Jones
These yellow 'cross-gartered' stockings are one of the most iconic pieces of clothing in any of Shakespeare's plays. They were worn by Richard Wilson as Malvolio, the head steward to Countess Olivia. He wears them because some of the other characters have convinced him that Olivia wants to marry him. They write him a letter, pretending it is from Olivia, asking him to wear the stockings.
The letter also instructs Malvolio to be rude to the other servants and smile constantly in the presence of Olivia.
Richard Wilson is most well known for his role as Victor Meldrew in the television series One Foot In The Grave. Critics noted that Meldrew and Malvolio have similar qualities. One commented: 'it's been said that Richard Wilson was born to play Malvolio and it's true'.
© 2011 Royal Shakespeare Company