Review: The Taming of the Shrew at Shakespeare’s Globe

Crikey, I have been pretty much absent from my blog for a month now. In my defence, I have been making a short film, which has been taking up ALL OF THE TIME.

Anyway, last night I was at The Globe (no surprises there; my blog suggests that I am always at The Globe) to see the touring production of The Taming of the Shrew. This is an all female production, and is a great play to be an all female production, as it adds a different angle on the themes and feel of the thing. There was a cast of eight in multiple roles, as usual for these touring ones, and I think Shrew is a play that works really well like this; I never got confused about who was playing who, as is sometimes the case. The set and costumes were great (it was a modern dress production); I especially loved the wedding dresses.

The talented cast were led by Kate Lamb as Katherina and Leah Whitaker as Petruchio, both of whom were entertaining and dependable in their roles; they were ably supported by Olivia Morgan, Becci Gemmell, Remy Beasley, Kathryn Hunt, Joy Richardson and Nicola Sangster. The production was overall competent, funny and fun, although I can’t say it ever truly ignited for me. The Urdu Taming of the Shrew I saw last year at The Globe, had, perhaps, more to say, and had a clearer relationship between Petruchio and Katherina (they were a team, a partnership, and the difficult ‘Taming’ scenes were played like it was a joke that Katherina was in on).

There were, however, many wonderful touches, and many opportunities for the whole cast to shine. Kathryn Hunt was great as Katherina and Bianca’s father, and Remy Beasley shone whenever she was on the stage. The music was the best thing about the production, and is, in my opinion, the best of any Globe production (so Venus and Adonis, which would otherwise win, doesn’t count). The cast were just ridiculously talented, playing guitars and saxophones and all sorts, and I loved the folky feel it gave to the whole show. The voices were really beautiful, and Beasley’s solos were especially brilliant.

So overall, not a definitive or particularly innovative production, but lots of fun, and chock full of great performances.