The Taming of the Shrew

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The Royal Shakespeare Company's The Taming of the Shrew previewed 12 February 2009, opened 17 February 2009 and closed 7 March 2009 at the Novello Theatre in London.

The Royal Shakespeare Company present William Shakespeare's play The Taming of the Shrew in London directed by Conall Morrison.

The flamboyant Petruchio wins the unruly Kate's hand in marriage. Will his unconventional methods succeed in curing her temper and scolding tongue? Shakespeare explores the sexual politics of marriage in one of his earliest and most controversial comedies. Conall Morrison's iconoclastic take on one of Shakespeare's most problematic comedies sees Stephen Boxer and Michelle Gomez head the cast as the warring Petruchio and the 'Shrew' Kate.

The cast features Stephen Boxer as 'Petruchio / Christopher Sly' and Michelle Gomez as 'Katherina / Marion Hackett' with Arsher Ali, Jade Anouka, Jade Anouka, William Beck, Keir Charles, John Paul Connolly, Simon Darwen, Adrian Decosta, Leonard Fenton, James Garnon, Amanda Hadingue, David Hargreaves, Amara Karan, Sean Kearns, Jack Laskey, Patrick Moy, Will Sharpe, Peter Shorey and Larrington Walker. Directed by Conall Morrison with set designed by Francis O'Connor, costumes designed by Joan O'Clery, lighting by Paul Keogan, music by Conor Linehan, sound by Mike Compton, movement/choreography by Joyce Henderson and fights by Malcolm Ranson. This production comes into London's West End following a season at the Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in May 2008.

"Thunderflashes, lots of simulated sexual intercourse, thudding post Elizabethan house music, lines delivered at 140 beats per minute... come on, you know where we are. It has to be the RSC, doing its familiar and well-loved Carry on Shakespeare routine. And thoroughly enjoyable it is, too... Conall Morrison's production of The Taming of the Shrew works well because this mayhem is meticulously choreographed, and the impressive cast - youngish, in the main, and previously untested in at least one case - somehow possess the chutzpah to bring it off." The Sunday Times

"Moving between the modern day and a cardboard fantasy Italy, the production has a ribald pantomime humour that`s never as funny as it thinks, reaching a nadir with Larrington Wa|ker's 'comedy' Jamaican merchant. Conall Morrison's desolate view of marriage as akin to prostitution (Katherina's limp body at the end echoes the blow-up doll tossed around by the stags) offers few rewards in an evening that's simultaneously dreary and savage." The London Metro

The Royal Shakespeare Company's The Taming of the Shrew previewed from 12 February 2009, opened on 17 February 2009 and closed on 7 March 2009.


Propeller Theatre Company The Taming of the Shrew 2007

Previewed 6 January 2007, Opened 17 January 2007, Closed 17 February 2007 at the Old Vic Theatre in London

The critically acclaimed all-male company, The Propeller Theatre Company present Shakespeare's comedy The Taming of the Shrew in London directed by Edward Hall - performed in repertory with Twelfth Night.

In The Taming of the Shrew, a man playing a boy dresses up as a girl, which confuses Christopher Sly. Over the course of the play, Shakespeare takes us on a journey that constantly reminds us that the opposite is always true. Directed by Edward Hall with designs by Michael Pavelka and lighting by Mark Howland and Ben Ormerod. This production is performed by the all-male Propeller Theatre Company in repertory with Twelfth Night. The Propeller Theatre Comapny have previously presented A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Harold Pinter Theatre in 2003.

"Edward Hall brings his all-male company, Propellor, to bear on two Shakespeare plays at the Old Vic... The pick of the pair is The Taming of the Shrew, by far the more difficult play to pull off because of its bluntly sexist theme... But triumph as Petruchio may, what Hall creates at the end is a sense of grief for the passing of the female spirit. This is both a triumph of acting and of Hall's tweaking of the script. He uses the troublesome introduction about a trick played on the drunken Christopher Sly to cunning effect." The Sunday Telegraph

"Playing Shakespeare is hard enough. Playing with his plays is a dangerous game, because you can end up reinterpreting him out of recognition. But relax: with Edward Hall and his all-male company, Propeller, the national treasure is in safe hands. The key to Hall's reading of these plays is simple but subtle. To see a play is not unlike having a dream: you watch, but you are also involved. You are both spectator and participant. And so Christopher Sly, drunken spectator, becomes macho Petruchio, the hero of his own dream." The Sunday Times

"Director Edward Hall and his all-male Propeller company plays it, as it were, straight, with the emphasis on this trickiest of tales as a play within a play staged for the drunk tinker Christopher Sly who segues seamlessly into the character of Petruccio. At the end, Sly wakes from his stupor and thinks it's all been a dream, but one which leaves him confident that he, too, could tame a shrew. Nevertheless, neither the insistence that this is a male fantasy, nor Hall's slapstick staging (which drains the play of every last drop of humour), can disguise the fact that Kate's mental and physical torture into subjugation is no laughing matter. Indeed, the spectacle of Simon Scardifield's hairy-chested Kate, subdued, exhausted, defeated and sullenly obeying Dugald Bruce-Lockhart's swaggering, macho but ultimately pervy Petruccio, is as pitiful and pathetic as that of a dancing bear. When Petruccio turns up to his wedding drunk and wearing nothing but a jockstrap and cowboy boots, his contempt has clearly gone into overdrive and, dream or not, the play suddenly looks like male pornography. If it was called The Taming Of The Jew, it would have been banned years ago." The Mail on Sunday

Propeller Theatre Company The Taming of the Shrew in London at the Old Vic Theatre previewed from 6 January 2007, opened on 17 January 2007 and closed on 17 February 2007.


RSC The Taming of the Shrew with Jasper Britton and Alexandra Gilbreath 2004

Previewed 14 January 2004, Opened 15 January 2004, Closed 6 March 2004 at the Queen's Theatre in London

The Royal Shakespeare Company present Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew London featuring Jasper Britton and Alexandra Gilbreath and directed by Gregory Doran.

Will he take Kate on? Who will tame who?... The Taming of the Shrew is perhaps the most famous play ever written about the battle of the sexes. Petruchio arrives in Padua looking for a wife, a rich one. The wealthy Baptista has a daughter, Kate, whom he wants to get off his hands, but she has a reputation as a shrew with a scolding tongue and a fierce temper. Petruchio also has a reputation, as a wild boy.

The cast features Jasper Britton as 'Petruchio' and Alexandra Gilbreath as 'Katherine' with Christopher Godwin as 'Gremio', Rory Kinnear as 'Tranio', Tom Anderson, Paul Chahidi, Esther Ruth Elliott, Ian Gelder, Christopher Harvey, Daniel Hawksford, John Lightbody, Oliver Maltman, Eve Myles, Bill Nash, Keith Osborn, David Peart, Nicolas Tennant, Simon Trinder and Beth Vyse. Directed by Gregory Doran with designs by Stephen Brimson Lewis, lighting by Tim Mitchell, music by Paul Englishby, sound by Martin Slavin and movement/choreography by Michael Ashcroft. This production comes into London's West End following a season at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in April 2003. Performed in repertory with John Fletcher's The Tamer Tamed (performed on Wednesdays and Saturdays).

"Everybody enjoyed Gregory Doran's revival of The Shrew at Stratford last year... so, had Doran done what clever-clever directors often do nowadays and forcibly transformed a sexist comedy into a politically correct tract? No. On the contrary, Doran's production explained why The Shrew counts Germaine Greer, of all people, among its admirers; and all without distorting Shakespeare. In his reading, as in Greer's, Kate longs for a strong, passionate man, not another dull Paduan wimp. But she's trapped in a vicious circle. The more her father fusses over her sister Bianca, the more needy and angry she gets, the more the paternal rejections intensify, and she becomes what Alexandra Gilbreath was at Stratford and is again in London: a raging termagant. Then comes relief and rescue in the form of Jasper Britton's Petruchio. Like her, he's more insecure and vulnerable than his brash manner suggests." The Times

"The Taming of the Shrew is the RSC's latest production to come into the West End. The company manages to make this usually tedious Tudor comedy about a wife with a ferocious temper being brought to heel by her husband not only funny but deeply romantic with it. The two leads are brilliant: Jasper Britton is a hoot as the slob Petruchio, and as his bride, Alexandra Gilbreath is the funniest, maddest, most endearing Kate I've ever seen. The two of them cook up a storm in director Gregory Doran's production, lovingly staged in period costume. With a crack cast, this is a real feelgood company show in which everyone on stage also seems to be having a ball." The Daily Express

"Greg Doran's sensitive, sexy take on The Taming Of The Shrew makes Kate more weird and wild than I've ever seen her to be. Straggly-haired, sociopathic, she shouts and screams and hates everything and everyone, especially herself, which is a vicious circle to be stuck in... Doran makes an unpalatable play palatable by making this a marriage of two misfits; each recognises something in the other which marks them as different, more extreme than those around them. The approach works, and he's helped by the fact that Jasper Britton and Alexandra Gilbreath in the lead roles clash so explosively that sparks fly, igniting a truly erotic relationship. Kate's famous final speech vowing obedience to her husband is probably more politically incorrect than anything currently to be heard in the West End, but the way she says it, so smouldering and breathy and come hither, leaves you in little doubt that, for this pair, it's a bit of foreplay they obviously relish. Hot stuff." The Mail on Sunday

RSC The Taming of the Shrew in London at the Queen's Theatre previewed from 14 January 2004, opened on 15 January 2004, closed on 6 March 2004.