The Taming of the Shrew: February 2009

by William Shakespeare

Link to cast & production team
Link to what the critics said
Link to photo gallery

All-female Shrew

From 17 – 21 February 2009 we put on a highly successful outdoor Summer Shakespeare production of The Taming of the Shrew as part of 2009 FringeNZ with an all-female cast. This was the Troupe’s 13th annual Shakespeare production.

John Marwick, who has directed 10 of these productions, was intrigued by the challenge of putting on a contemporary version of a comedy that, on the face of it, is about a man who ‘tames’ an unruly wife by starving her and depriving her of sleep. He had originally toyed with the idea of gender-reversal as a way of bringing a new perspective: perhaps if Kate was played by a man while Petruchio was played by a woman the audience response would change. In the event, the available cast better suited an all-female production – a complete reversal of the original Elizabethan all-male casting.

The play was set in a more or less contemporary and largely New Zealand world and didn’t take itself too seriously.

Cast & Production Team

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Cast

In order of speaking

Lucentio, of Pisa, son to Vincentio
Suzanne Levy
Tranio, Lucentio´s servant
Pip Weston
Baptista Minola,a rich gentleman of Padua
Sandra Gillespie
Gremio, of Padua
Florence McFarlane
Katherina, Baptista´s elder daughter
Rowan Macrae
Hortensio, of Padua
Kat Angus
Bianca, Baptista´s younger daughter
Elspeth Harris
Biondello, servant to Lucentio
Tamsin Bertaud-Gandar
Petruchio, of Verona
Liz Sugrue
Grumio, Petruchio´s servant
Sarah-Rose Burke
A Maid
Sue Jones
Curtis, servant in Petruchio´s house
Sue Jones
Nathaniel, servant in Petruchio´s house
Pip Weston
Philip, servant in Petruchio´s house
Tamsin Bertaud-Gandar
Joseph, servant in Petruchio´s house
Sandra Gillespie
Nicholas, servant in Petruchio´s house
Suzanne Levy
Merchant
Carol Thompson
Haberdasher
Florence McFarlane
Tailor
Elspeth Harris
Vincentio, a rich gentleman of Pisa
Sue Jones
Widow
Carol Thompson

Production

Director
John Marwick
Producer
Julia Stuart
Stage Manager
Theo Nettleton
Costumes
Carol Thompson
Properties
Julia Stuart
Sound
Ray Dickinson
Lighting
Chris Jones
Signage
Steve Wilson
Rehearsal assistant
Sue Lennox
Front of House
Patricia and Ed Hickey
Photography
Ken George Photography Ltd

What the Critics Said

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Reviewed by John Smythe

In his review at   http://www.theatreview.org.nz/ John described the production as “Footrot Flats meets Outrageous Fortune”. In place of Shakespeare’s play-within-a-play induction, in this production the actors, dressed in tights and T-shirts, danced on to the stage to girl-band music and proceeded to don their costumes and their characters on stage. The whole cast remained in view throughout the play commenting on the action and adding live sound effects.

As well as very strong performances from Liz Sugrue as Petruchio and Rowan Macrae as Kate, the production brought out a lot of the humour in the Bianca sub-plot (played by Elspeth Harris).

The show enjoyed good weather (only one night was moved into the school hall because of rain) and the large houses were very appreciative.

The above account is taken from the newsletter of the Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand’s Compleate Workes project.

Photo Gallery

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Kate getting carried away

Kate getting carried away

 

Come, sit on me

Come, sit on me

 

Good sister, wrong me not

Good sister, wrong me not

 

My house within the city is richly furnished

My house within the city is richly furnished

 

Like to mose in the chine

Like to mose in the chine

 

Lend thine ear

Lend thine ear

 

A whoreson beetle-headed, flap-ear'd knave!

A whoreson beetle-headed, flap-ear

 

Out, you rogue! you pluck my foot awry

Out, you rogue! you pluck my foot awry

 

O mercy, God! what masquing stuff is here?

O mercy, God! what masquing stuff is here?

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