Friday 13th –Saturday 14th June 2003 (3 performances)
Pocklington Arts Centre
Tuesday 17th – Saturday 21st June 2003 (6 perfomances)
Joseph Rowntree Theatre
Charles Hutchinson in the The Yorkshire Evening Press wrote:
OUT with the old, in with the new. York Shakespeare Project has brushed away the cobwebs of its rickety start with Richard III last autumn to freshen up cast and artistic policy for the second production of its ongoing programme to perform all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays.
Director Paul Toy has shaken up Shakespeare without damaging the goods. Believing that the “welcome gains of feminism seem to have left The Taming Of The Shrew as less of a comedy, more of a problem play” he has reversed the usual gender casting of the lovers and their servants. “There is now no pretence that what you see is `real’,” he says. “Hopefully, the play can be seen as less of a treatise and more of a game”.
What’s more, it is a game played within the slumbering, dreaming, drunken head of Christopher Sly (Lee Maloney), who arrives with his bag of beer cans and disruptive mobile phone. On to a plain stage come the 17th century Players and their pageant waggons to enact the play within the play, with the added element of the new twists in the casting.
The male-female role swap is not as radical as it may first seem. After all, all stage parts used to be played by men or boys; The Globe in London is soon to open an all-female version of The Shrew with York actress Janet McTeer as Petruchio; and Shakespeare’s comedies are already suffused with characters taking on disguises by swapping gender or social status.
Indeed, in The Shrew itself, the page Bartholomew is dressed up as a woman, on this occasion with the willowy James Tyler being fitted out in a little black number and a peroxide wig.
Ali Borthwick, a tall Glaswegian with a pageboy haircut, plays Petruchio in strapping manner opposite John Sharpe’s Katherina with his/her pale commedia dell’arte face and rouge lips. No longer “real”, the taming technique of starvation and sleep deprivation now loses its nasty sting – ironic in this age of similar techniques being used by the American government.
However, the comedy acquires a newly pantomimic quality while emphasising the deeper theme of the needs of individual freedom versus the demands of social conformity.
Borthwick plays humorously on her considerable size; the skirt-hitching, hand-twitching Sharpe hints at Les Dawson or Dick Emery; madrigals add still more to the theatricality, and the pleasing number of young performers brings a vibrancy to the game.
See also: The British Theatre Guide review by Peter Lathan.
|Christopher Sly||Lee Maloney|
|The Hostess||Val Parker|
|A Lord||Tim Holman|
|Lord’s Retainers||Robert Cummings, Alan Lyons, Harold Mozley,|
|Players||Ali Borthwick, Kit Bird, Lindsay Whitwell|
|Baptista Minola||Alan Reed|
|A Tailor||Helen Mitchell|
|A Haberdasher||Breanne Rodgers|
|Lucentio||Hannah de Haan|
|A Merchant of Mantua||Robert Cummings|
|A Widow||Kit Bird|
|Townspeople, Officers, Servants to Baptista, Petruchio, Lucentio and Hortensio||Gina Kirkham, Val Parker, Breanne Rodgers|
|Singers||Andy Chase, Richard Lane, Anna Kesteven, Barbara Miller, Hannah Quinn|
Production and Backstage
|Stage Manager||Debbie Bone|
|Deputy Stage Manager||Ray Baggaley|
|Assistant Stage Managers||Malcolm Law, Jeremy Muldowney, Adrian Dale|
|Musical Director||Hannah Quinn|
|Costume Designer||Beverley Chapman|
|Wardrobe Mistresses||Beverley Chapman, Liz Huchinson, Judith Ireland|
|Costume Makers||Jennie Boyer, Margaret Cummings, Mary-Ann Dearlove, Liz Hutchinson, Judith Ireland, Gina Kirkham, Linda Maloney, Helen Orme, Val Parker, Heather Partridge, Muriel Pickett, Sheila Shouksmith|
|Set Designers||Paul Toy, Lee Maloney|
|Set Builders||Alan Dickens, Malcolm Law, Lee Maloney|
|Set Painting||Beverley Chapman, Monica Nelson|
|Cast Liaison Officer||Barbara Miller|
|Props||Jeremy Muldowney, Monica Nelson|
|Tickets||Sue Whitaker, Anne Walker|
|Front of House||Jenny Aitken, Mike Bennett, Ian Bithell, Caroline Mozley Kat Dale, David Hartshorn, Judith Ireland, Linda Maloney, Amy Parker, Justine Schneider, Jenny Wykes|
|Publicity and Marketing||Alan Lyons|
|Graphic Artist||Mike Shaw|