The Taming of the Shrew
The midnight matinee of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew at the iconic Globe theatre was screwball Elizabethan comedy bursting with fun and energy. Directed by Joe Murphy, this interpretation of the Bard’s notoriously controversial play was arguably made more perverse and provocative by the use of an all-female ensemble, emphasizing the ludicrous compartmentalisation of gender roles in this 17th century patriarchal Italian society. More importantly, from a comedic aspect, the female cast intensifies the sleaze of the numerous double entendres and reinforces the absurd misogyny that runs throughout the script.
The production showcased some really exciting stage talent, particularly the booming Kathryn Hunt (as Baptista Minola and Grumio), the wondrously boisterous Remy Beasley (as Tranio) and Kate Lamb (as Christopher Sly and Katerina), who was hysterical, endearing and ultimately heartbreaking in equal measure, and whose final scene of surrender and submissiveness to her brutal husband Petruchio (Leah Whitaker) was deeply distressing and brilliant. Overall, every actor (and character) was engaging, animated and hilarious, allowing this Shakespeare to be easily understood and enjoyed, unlike some renditions that can sometimes be lost in translation.
In addition to the superb quality of the acting was the unique integration of music throughout, combining saxophones, trumpets, guitars and some truly sensational singing (most notably from Beasley), which helped convert the play to a more contemporary interpretation. The actors were all, surprisingly, brilliant instrumentalists.
Overall, this summer’s Taming of the Shrew should not be missed. It is intelligent, uproarious and, perhaps most importantly, poignant given the prominence of gender politics in the national debate.
The Taming of the Shrew is now touring worldwide, for further information or to book visit here.