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Review of a Performance - The Taming Of The Shrew.

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Introduction

DRAMA: REVIEW OF A PERFORMANCE THE TAMING OF THE SHREW The performance of 'The Taming of the Shrew' was held at The Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, on Thursday 22nd May 2003. This romantic comedy is about a rich family from Padua, in the traditional Jacobean period. Baptista (played by Ian Gelder), a rich gentleman, has two daughters, Katherine (played by Alexandra Gilbreath) and Bianca (played by Eve Myles). Katherine is a 'wild and fearsome lass' of whom any man would be petrified to court, whilst fair Bianca has two suitors at the beginning of the play; Hortensio and Gremio. Baptista is adamant that his eldest, Katherine, must marry before his youngest daughter Bianca. A gentleman of Verona, by the name of Petruchio enters the scene and announces that he is to woo Katharine. Meanwhile, Bianca steals yet another man's heart - Lucentio (played by Daniel Hawksford), who disguises himself as a school master 'Cambio' so that he can tutor Bianca for the rest of his stay in Padua. Hortensio (played by Paul Chahidi, deviously inspired by Lucentio, disguises himself as a music teacher for Bianca, while Gremio (played by Christopher Godwin) ...read more.

Middle

However, the play was written in a totally different age, for a totally different society, in which values and beliefs were different. Personally, being female, I did not find the play feminally offensive, as Shakespeare gets great comical invention from it. I think the director handled the sexism issue very well. He also draws wonderful comic invention from each and every member of his cast and the production goes at a cracking pace throughout. Part of this play's enduring appeal is the banter between the ill-tempered but quick-witted Katherine and her lover Petruchio, but it is the story of the uppity woman who gets taken down a peg that hooked all the audience. The power of that story depends upon our ability to see a gentility beneath the bluster and fiery rage of both battling lovers. Gregory Doran's production of Taming of the Shrew has pace and the first scene with Sly has plenty of style and even more humour. I thought that the cast was, in general, well rehearsed and efficiently deployed by the director. Stephanie Arditti (costume supervisor) and Ashley Holtom (associate costume supervisor) ...read more.

Conclusion

I found 'The Taming of the Shrew' an outstanding performance which I will not forget and will think of it as one of the best plays I have ever seen; and I have been to see many plays and productions and have also participated in many myself. I do not think there was one weak link in the entire cast of this production. At the final marriage banquet, Petruchio places a bet on his wife's new found obedience. The odds are just as certain that you've missed some wonderful entertainment if you haven't seen this play. The acting is as good as the play is convoluted, but would be hard to follow if you don't understand Shakespearean. I think that I have quite a good understanding of Shakespeare as I have already studied and taken part in Macbeth. I would recommend anyone and everyone to watch this production of 'The Taming of The Shrew' by The Royal Shakespeare Company, and I think the director, actors, production teams, set designers and anyone else involved with this production should be highly congratulated. This is a good production of an excellent play which, though its message may be at odds with our times of feminism, has had a consistent following for several centuries and has lost none of its lustre. Anna C Davies 10 Du 1 ...read more.

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