The Taming of the Shrew (Royal Shakespeare Theatre, w/c 23rd January 2012)

The set was a bed.

Indeed, the set really grabbed my attention when I walked into the RST. As I sat on the front row, I had to strain my neck to see over the stage, because the bed made the stage, which is high anyway, much higher.

It’s was a bold move to turn the thrust stage into a bed and in many ways this worked very well.  In the programme, the director, Lucy Bailey said that she wanted her overall concept to be about sleeping, sex and dreams.  This clearly signalled what we could expect from this production.

This production was framed by the Christopher Sly scenes, and Sly (Nick Holder) was on stage for most of the play.  Some of the fun was around him loosing  his pants, and this added a slapstick element to a very dark comedy.  In framing the play, the play itself becomes a wish fulfilment, and clearly Sly’s perception.

The production itself was an alcohol fuelled night on the town. Kate (Lisa Dillon) was sick over Petruchio (David Caves) and wet herself on stage.  It was behaviour that Petruchio seems to relish, and there was a reminder of those documentaries about drunken nights out in the cities of the UK.  If the chemistry was missing between Isabella and Angelo playing in the Swan at the same time, there was lots of chemistry between the Kate and Petruchio.  The audience sees Petruchio’s reaction to Kate when he first sees her and her clearly finds her attractive.  However, at the end of the play, I wasn’t sure whether their relationship would last.  I was reminded of Kate’s first entrance where she looked to be repentant, but as she threw off the brace, she fights back, showing her anger at her treatment.  Maybe once the test is over, she will do this again.

I loved this production.  It was thoughtful, funny and entertaining.

Reviews and Previews

The Stage / Reviews / The Taming of the Shrew
The Taming of the Shrew, RST – review | Theatre
The Taming of the Shrew, RSC, review – Telegraph
The Taming of the Shrew – review | Culture | The Guardian
The Taming of the Shrew: ‘This is not a woman being crushed’ | Stage | The Guardian
Other Blogs
Margate Sands

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