Review: Outdoor St Albans production of The Taming of the Shrew? by Breakaway Theatre Company

PUBLISHED: 13:50 30 June 2018 | UPDATED: 18:12 30 June 2018

Picture: Sebastian Springer

Picture: Sebastian Springer

Archant

A Shakespearean performance in the backdrop of Verulamium Park’s green, enjoyed as the sun sets on a mild summer evening, is always going to be a winner.

Picture: Sebastian SpringerPicture: Sebastian Springer

Both this weekend and next the open-air Breakaway Theatre Company’s production of The Taming of the Shrew? will be presented to audiences at the Inn On The Park.

This is the fifth annual summer Shakespeare production presented by the am dram group, but this year St Albans Radio Verulam presenter Danny Smith was also debuting on stage.

He played Petruchio and Susie Wyeth, who joined the company last year, was his co-star Katherina.

Both newbies, they had a confident stage presence and bounced off each other with obvious rapport.

Picture: Sebastian SpringerPicture: Sebastian Springer

The whole cast were convincing, bringing a lighthearted tone to a difficult subject and facing head-on the misogynistic undertones of the controversial play.

Director Clare Waller deliberately added a question mark to the title, asking the audience to question whether Katherina is a shrew or has been tamed.

She explained why an induction from the original text was removed: “Shakespeare used [it] to frame the main story and almost excuse the actions that happen within.

“I made the decision to cut this, as it is not a device that is carried through the whole play and I wanted to explore the issues raised, not push them to one side.”

Picture: Sebastian SpringerPicture: Sebastian Springer

The decision to set the text in the 21st Century was natural and well-executed - especially when assistant director Abigail Giles swaggered on-stage in a backwards cap and Danny stumbled into his wedding sporting a feather boa after ‘Petruchio’s Stag Do’.

A nice way to introduce diversity into the play was turning Bianca’s lovers into lesbian roles. It was handled well and the text altered slightly to ward off confusion.

Most of the ‘taming’, (read: abuse), happens in the second half - with Petruchio keeping Katherina sleep deprived and starving, forcing her to agree with lies.

Unfamiliar with the play, I found certain scenes in the second half uncomfortable to watch. However, that is only testament to how engaging the cast were and immersed I was in the performance. Bravo everyone!

Picture: Sebastian SpringerPicture: Sebastian Springer

Tickets are available at www.breakawaytheatre.com

More news stories

12:41

A replacement time capsule has been buried in the same spot where a 19th century version was discovered last year.

Astronomers from the University of Hertfordshire have confirmed the existence of a frozen planet orbiting the fastest star in the sky.

Was the Cedar Court chasm in St Albans caused by an old chalk mine, or an abandoned air raid shelter?

07:00

Entry to a St Albans primary may be slashed in half despite worries about a school places shortage around the district.

CountryPhile

Recently we, as a family (minus two of the kids), visited The Lodge RSPB reserve in Sandy, Bedfordshire. I had never been before, which is perhaps amiss of me as a birdwatcher as it is the headquarters of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds or RSPB and only 45 minutes drive from home.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the The Herts Advertiser e-edition E-edition
Zoo Watch CountryPhile

Newsletter Sign Up

Herts Advertiser weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read stories

Show Job Lists

Herts Most Wanted Herts Business Awards