My photo
Contact me at

19 September 2012


The Taming of the Shrew
Globe Theatre, London
Wednesday 19th September 2012
This is my second production of The Taming of the Shrew this year, after seeing it performed on an enormous bed at the RSC Theatre in February.  The overall premise still sits uncomfortably with my inner feminist, but one cannot argue with it's continued appeal - society has simply come so far the other way we can laugh at this misogynistic plot because of, rather than despite, it's contrast to our own lives. 
And laugh we did.  This production succeeds uproariously where the RSC fell short - in finding every element of silly comedy and milking it for all it is worth.  Right from the opening scene, with Christopher Sly clattering on stage from among the groundlings, it was clear this would be a pacey production, full of comedic touches.  Pearce Quigley's Grumio was particularly funny with his straight faced, laid back delivery, and my sides were almost splitting each time he kicked that ludicrous bucket (doubly so with the confusion on the faces of the European couple in front of me, who were unfamiliar with the idiom).
Katherina was played with screaming, fiery rage by Samantha Spiro, retaining comedy throughout her progression from spiteful Shrew to servantile spouse, never allowing her characterisation to become unlikeable.  Petruchio, played by Simon Paisley Day, was her match in cunning and humour.  Again, every comic element was exploited so well we barely noticed the domineering oppression to which the character subjects his reluctant wife.  A directorial triumph for both sides of this central couple to manage to retain the audience's sympathy.

Just as successful was the farcical sub-plot with Biana and her contrasting suitors.  These scenes were all frantic and funny, but particularly successful was the transformation of the hilarious Tranio, played by Jamie Beamish.  Contrasting effortlessly from the Irish servant when dressed as his master Lucentio, his characterisation stood out in this pivotal supporting role.

An hilarious comic production, produced relatively simply, but succeeding perfectly in reaching the humour of a modern audience. 


1 comment:

  1. Nice review! Thanks for explaining the "bucket" joke, though its sound was quite illustrating.