Yesterday I was treated to a fine experience by my brother when we attended together a matinée performance of the latest production of ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon.
I think it is most difficult to make this play convincing since the plot of a-play-within-a-play isn’t always totally believable or even understandable. Often the two do not seem to be related at all, especially in lesser productions (and who really knows what was in the Bard’s mind anyway when he wrote it, even if he did write it)... It is very challenging. Also the wooing and ‘training’ of Katherina, with its male chauvinistic implications, in today’s free society does not always ring true anymore.
However in this case it all did... Everything was superb, no doubt due to the efforts of its lady director Lucy Bailey. The production was a great success in every way and all the actors were able to convincingly ham their lines enormously, to the audience’s great delight. They did their parts so cleverly that Shakespeare’s original script seemed to me as understandable as modern English. The language seemed quite natural to them. The Production was lewd and bawdy at times, as I am sure it would have been in the Sixteenth Century but not shocking and even when at one point a heavy and unattractive naked male bottom pranced with vigour around the stage, it caused more hilarious laughter than astonishment.
It was all wonderful and I was sorry when it had to end. The day was very cold but the event had warmed us both up.