Taming of the Shrew Ashton Court x/10
THE Taming of the Shrew is one of my favourite Shakespeare comedies. It is a story that gently mocks the great tussle of love; through the use of jokes, disguise, role-play and the riotous play within a play.
It is a wonder that the story comes to such a fitting conclusion, where all couples, despite their rocky journeys, seem to be pleasantly, yet surprisingly, content with their matches and the general denouement.
Open air theatre always adds an extra bit of charm to a Shakespeare performance, and the setting worked wonders here. Padua was set within the glorious grounds of the Ashton Court Estate, which, despite the torrential rain, made for a great setting and added to the atmosphere of the production.
The actors were all fantastic – incredibly eloquent and dynamic – darting around the boggy stage set with bounds of energy and purpose.
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The physicality between the shrewish and savage Kate, played beautifully by Lucia McAnespie and the drunken rogue Petruchio, played outstandingly by David Davies, was excellent throughout and provided moments of heightened comic genius.
Tom Kay was great as the pompous and wealth-seeking Hortensio and made good use of his puffed pantalons, which he tugged outward at all the right moments, creating a rumble of warming and much needed laughter across the soaked audience.
This was a great performance and the GB Theatre Company are clearly a group to watch over the coming years. Hats off to the entire cast, who really embodied the slogan "The show must go on" and we are all incredibly grateful that it did.