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LETTERS TO EDITOR
A CurtainUp London Review
The Taming of the Shrew
by Lizzie Loveridge
The all female company has experienced a steep learning curve from the early performances of this season's Richard III and, although the principals were always excellent, now the minor parts play the gender switch with more confidence and credibility. Kathryn Hunter's physically diminutive Kate makes up in verve what she lacks in stature. She is vituperative as the spiteful elder sister. McTeer's wooing scene is electrifying and engenders a spontaneous hand of applause from the appreciative Globe groundlings. Petruchio and Kate seem to largely skip the first three stages of a relationship to go straight into Stage 4 the power struggle which is meant to be after the honeymoon, not before, as Kate tries to get Petruchio to stay in Padua. Later McTeer's delivery of the "chattels" speech has her dragging Kate away, struggling and screaming and bringing the tablecloth and the contents of the wedding breakfast to the floor.
In a firmly tongue in cheek finale, Kate makes it clear that her deference to her husband is a game. She has learnt the rules of making him think she is subservient to him. She waltzes through her lines with increasing rapidity and nonchalance, paying lip service to the male ego, and although Petruchio is moved to tears at the interminable description of wifely duty, maybe they were crocodile tears? Linda Bassett is a delightfully rural yokel Grumio, servant to Petruchio, and I liked too Amanda Harris' streetwise servant/master switching Tranio. Meredith MacNeill is a nicely measured Lucentio, Bianca's suitor who turns tutor. Special mention should go too of the unnamed actor in a shaggy suit taking on Troilus, Petruchio's flea bitten spaniel.
The Taming of the Shrew is playing to full houses with queues for returns the night I was there. It is so good to see this recreation of a Jacobean theatre full and at the top of its game.
Note: Last year's Shakespeare's Globe's acclaimed production of Twelfth Night will play at the Globe from 2nd - 12th October prior to a coast to coast tour of the USA. The only confirmed production for the 2004 Globe season is Romeo and Juliet.
Mendes at the Donmar
Peter Ackroyd's History of London: The Biography
Somewhere For Me, a Biography of Richard Rodgers
At This Theater
Ridiculous!The Theatrical Life & Times of Charles Ludlam
The New York Times Book of Broadway: On the Aisle for the Unforgettable Plays of the Last Century
6, 500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by CurtainUp's editor.
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