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The Taming of the Shrew

a Comedy
CATEGORY : COMEDY
by William Shakespeare

COMPANY : The New American Shakespeare Tavern [WEBSITE]
VENUE : The New American Shakespeare Tavern [WEBSITE]
ID# 4094

SHOWING : August 20, 2011 - October 01, 2011

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Shrew was the Bard’s first stab at portraying the ultimate “battle of the sexes.” Will Petruchio be able to tame his Kate, turning the “shrew” into a doting wife, or will the lady hold fast to her wild, independent ways?


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Drew Reeves
Costume Designer Anne Carole Butler
Lighting Designer Harley Gould
Stage Manager Cindy Kearns
Assistant Stage Manager Deborah McGriff
Gremio/Haberdasher/Servant Tony Brown
Bianca/Servant Kelly Criss
Hortensio Nicholas Faircloth
Grumio (Petruchio's servant)/Conjurer Matt Felten
Lucentio/Servant Andrew Houchins
Baptista/Servant Doug Kaye
Petruchio, suitor to Kate J.C. Long
Curtis/Painter/Officer/Servant Vinnie Mascola
Widow/Model/Servant Kati Grace Morton
Biondello/Servant Matt Nitchie
Tranio (Lucentio's Servant) Daniel Parvis
Katherina, the shrew Mary Russell
Pedant/Servant/Minstrel Clarke Weigle
Vincentio/Priest/Tailor/Poet/Servant Troy Willis
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REVIEWS

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The shrew is back
by Lady Mac
Thursday, September 1, 2011
4.0
The Shakespeare Tavern is churning out comedies at a breakneck pace, so, just a couple of performances after opening “Two Gentlemen of Verona,” the second Shakespearean comedy, “Taming of the Shrew,” appears.

This production is essentially a remounting of the most recent one, which was a masterpiece of comedy and chemistry. A few adjustments and some recastings take just a bit of the starch out of it and poke a few holes in its magic. Still, a slight downgrade from that nearly perfect production remains a very entertaining, funny crowd-pleaser.

Mary Russell takes over the lead role of Kate. Through no fault of her own, she just has a look of inherent goodness, innocence and naivete that makes her a little tough to buy as a ferocious shrew. Her rantings have an underpinning softness that give her version of Kate a less dramatic transformation than her predecessor’s. Also, there seemed to be less electricity between her and J.C. Long’s Petruchio. Even so, Russell gives the performance her all.

As for Long, he strays a bit from the fine line between method and madness that made his earlier performance shine. This time, he rails a bit more manically than necessary and feels over the top at times. He has lost a little of the restraint that gave nuance to Petruchio and won over the audience, even amid his wildest antics.

A few other recastings also have disrupted the production’s previous magic, even though the replacements are more than capable, and some of the scenes don’t click as well as they did. However, some of the production’s strongest performances – such as Matt Felten’s and Daniel Parvis’ hilarious servants and Troy Willis’ brilliant Vincentio – remain as pitch-perfect as ever.

A few other changes that give this remounting a different flavor:
• The waning moments of intermission are put to use with a fun, entertaining glimpse of how Petruchio’s servants pass the time while the “cat’s away.”
• This time, the widow’s outward appearance reflects her inner shrewishness, as she is outfitted with (and nearly unrecognizable in) an unflattering wig and … Well, I’ll just let you see for yourself. Kati Grace Morton’s performance is sharp-tongued and may be nastier than Kate ever thought of being.
• Matt Nitchie is adorable and simple as Biondello. He could hone the character’s defiant moments just a touch, but his confused obedience is charming in a very limited role.

“Comedy of Errors” is running now, too, so this one is moving to the three-play comedic rotation. Catch it while you can. It’s a riotous night of theater that manages not to alienate the modern woman, “taming” though it may be.
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