Theatre Review: Taming of the Shrew. Theatro Technis, NW1

Taming of the Shew

Taming of the Shew - Credit: Archant

With a setting revision to the 1950s, when the times were a-changing, Theatro Technis welcomes a fresh twist on the established Shakespeare comedy.

Intended as a companion-piece, if not a social commentary, to the cultural shifts that were beginning to form in this early Rock’n’Roll period, Taming of the Shrew sets out to assess the respective roles of men and women in society.

Katherina is the fiery elder sibling of the more subdued and, dare say it, tolerable, Bianca. Their wealthy father will not allow the alluring and popular Bianca to be wed before the volatile Katherina is married. Enter Petruchio, a man who fancies a challenge and a rich wife. A gallant individual who attempts to tame the shrew.

Does the update work? Well, it does not interfere with matters. Nor should it. As a canvas, it is pliant as a semi-contemporary setting.

It offers a relatable context for a modern audience. Pre-war values were beginning to be challenged and staid attitudes were being unravelled by a progressively liberated youth. This is not to say that a purist may not find the framing redundant. But credit should be given for the attempt to try something new whilst staying true and in reverence to the core text.

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Part of the joy in this production is in seeing performances that are brilliantly captured. This is a talented cast and some of these individuals are surely destined for great things.

If the denouement hums with a bonkers and outdated moral instruction for modern audiences, the remainder of the play contains enough gems of delicious dialogue to render the whole thing utterly worthwhile. A fine performance of fine material. Who could ask for more than that?

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Greg Wetherall

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