His works were written 400 years ago, but the legacy of Shakespeare lives on. Playing here at the end of its European tour is Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre’s production of The Taming of the Shrew , one of the Bard’s most outrageous comedies. Katie Roberts went along on opening night.
This show is stripped back to the essence: the words of Shakespeare. The set is a simple red and white striped tent, adorned with a string of light bulbs, and a modest wooden stage. It’s located in a quiet clearing at the top of Fort Canning behind the large Canning Centre and on a cool-ish, starry night is idyllic. The audience sits on blankets they’ve brought along, or at metal stands at the back.
With no fancy lighting effects, or microphones, the actors have to work hard to project their voices and whilst is audible in the centre area, the people seated right at the very back may strain to hear. The all-female cast of eight actors, here on the back of a hectic summer tour, are clearly on the top form and recite the play with precise timing and effect.
They play musical instruments, change costumes furiously as they switch between characters, all the while drawing the audience deeper into the story. Those put off by the complexities of the 16th century dialogue should not be worried – the words are only part of the performance, the body language, innuendo and facial expressions carry the story along.
Actors Kate Lamb and Leah Whitaker (who we interviewed – read it here), who play the main characters Katherina (Kate) and Petruchio, are the standouts in a cast of strong performers who keep the audience entranced until the final moments.