Manual The Taming of the Shrew (The RSC Shakespeare)

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Read More. I wanted to see what it would feel like when the male voice is not the dominant one. A brief introduction to the stage history of The Taming of the Shrew , from early productions in Elizabethan England to present-day adaptations. We can notify you when single tickets go on sale to the general public in September Parking and Directions. Dining Options.

The Rsc Shakespeare | The Taming Of The Shrew

As You Like It. There is no attempt to play this for laughs: the humiliation of Katherine, played by Joseph Arkley, is quite harrowing to witness, as he is starved, made to think himself mad this being centuries before Gaslight and reduced to a state of brokenness and bedragglement.

Petruchia is in love with nothing but her power. And Arkley plays his part with great skill, maintaining a dignity that is heartbreaking. There is a sense throughout of a play being given space to breathe.


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There is nothing didactic, clumsy or heavy-handed, and no single interpretation forced upon the audience. There are moments of tremendous entertainment, with Ruth Chan's music fusing disparate styles in a joyful fashion, and flamboyant song-and-dance routines executed adroitly. Hannah Clarke's costume design, meanwhile, is undoubtedly one of the production's greatest triumphs: it is rare these days to see traditional dress at the RSC which has become rather besotted with hoodies of late , and its dramatic potential is fulfilled beautifully here.

The radiant colours are done great justice by Matt Peel's lighting, too, which is also impressively cold when proceedings turn more bleak. Some deep-rooted difficulties remain, however.

The Taming of the Shrew review – RSC's battle of reversed sexes

The ending, in which the 'taming' is celebrated and the shrew submits, feels as unjust and unsatisfying as ever; here, it appears in slight danger of appearing as a celebration of female power, which sits rather uneasily, although it is intriguing to hear Katherine's final speech spoken by a man, "our bodies soft and weak and smooth" and all. And finishing with an upbeat dance number, while ensuring the audiences leaves with a smile, provokes a certain emotional queasiness.

Yet to its credit, this production asks many questions but rarely provides definitive answers. It prompts us to ponder how we consider violence perpetrated by women upon men; it calls us to question manifold social assumptions that still hold today; it leads us to contemplate what true equality may be. It is broad and deep and bright and dark and treats the audience with respect. And here, in its unflinching depiction of gender-based power, the play finds a fresh potency.


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    Amanda Harris as Baptista. Joseph Arkley as Katherine.