Nothing tame about this Shrew

The Taming of the Shrew. Lisa Dillon as Kate and David Caves at Petruchio.
The Taming of the Shrew. Lisa Dillon as Kate and David Caves at Petruchio.

ALL to often I hear people say that they don’t like Shakespeare because it’s boring and they don’t understand the dialogue.

But take them to see the Royal Shakespeare Company’s latest production of The Taming of the Shrew and I believe that opinion will be blown out of the water.

Though written more than 500 years ago, the play includes many of the themes that today’s soap opera audiences tune in for - sex, love, comedy, bust-ups and binge drinking.

This production is set in 1940s Italy and bizarrely, but effectively, the action takes place in and around a huge bed that dominates the stage and adapts to public piazza and domestic settings as required.

The play is framed by the hilarious tale of drunken tinker Christopher Sly (Nick Holder) who is fooled into thinking he is a lord and sits watching the play within the play, chasing his ‘wife’ under the sheets between scenes.

But the undoubted stars of the show are the feisty and furious Kate (Lisa Dillon) and the mad man who takes on the challenge of taming her, Petruchio (David Caves).

The chemistry between the two is electric, with the physical interplay and battle of emotions as their relationship develops, mesmerising.

Kate’s sweet sister Bianca and her army of admirers provide a stark and often amusing contrast.

This is a rude and riotous performance that will make you laugh out loud and leaves you satisfied that the two leads find true love.

Helen Beighton

The Taming of the Shrew runs until Saturday 17th March at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal.