The cast of Arreton Community Theatre’s The Taming of the Shrew. Picture by Robin Crossley.
STAGE REVIEW A HUSBAND bullying a fiesty woman until she became an obedient wife would not be an appropriate theme for a modern comedy, but Shakespeare got away with it in The Taming of the Shrew.
Arreton Community Theatre’s terrific summer production exploited the Bard’s humour to the full.
The play was staged in St George’s Church last Thursday and outdoors at Budbridge Manor over the weekend.
Amanda Gregory and Ollie Fry were both superb as Kate (shrew) and Petruchio (husband).
Kate started as a perfect bitch, throwing tantrums at every turn, attacking her angelic sister, Bianca (Jo Holt), and causing endless headaches for their father, Baptista (Ian Watterson).
Sparring between Kate and Petruchio was very entertaining and convincing. Eventually, Kate realised her husband had the upper hand and started doing as she was told in order to get what she wanted. She had been tamed, yet seemed more streetwise and manipulative than before.
The sub-plots, involving Bianca’s suitors and their numerous servants, were convoluted and comical. There were plenty of slapstick touches, including daft headgear — ridiculous hippy wigs worn by Hortensio (Glenn Koppany) and a bizarre tam o’shanter worn by Patrick Barry, playing a merchant.
Bianca’s heart was eventually won by Lucentio (John Abraham), disguised as a tutor. Tom Fergusson gave a great performance as Tranio, Lucentio’s servant.
David Jowitt, a young actor playing Petruchio’s servant, Grumio, displayed impressive stage presence.
Director Isabel Favell did a great job. The key to the comic success was pace and timing; non-stop action and well-rehearsed wordplay kept the audience rapt.