*** All-male Zimbabwean production glides along smoothly
The Over The Edge company cruise through Shakespeare's play in 90 minutes with a cast of six plus life-size puppets.
Although Petruchio is played by a white actor and Kate by a black one, there is no racial element to the production; the other white performer plays Kate's sister Bianca (no pun intended, I presume). Costuming is modern southern-African, from formal robes to loud shirts, with the exception of a strange basque-and-codpiece arrangement worn by Petruchio.
The entire company are at ease with the material, whether playing male
or female (no exaggerated drag performances here, just s femininity of
manner), in their own persons or manipulating the puppet-figures. Consequently,
this potentially knotty play zooms along with hardly a problem until the
final moments. We just about see that Kate's submission to her husband
has not rendered her a broken woman – that she is still independently minded,
and it is merely her aggression that she has eschewed – but at this point
the production cuts off. We are never properly shown Petruchio ending his
"programme" and becoming a worthwhile, loving husband; the sneering and
swaggering stops, but he says not a word afterwards. It's an unfortunate
problem right at the end of an otherwise excellent evening.
Written for divento.com
Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.
Return to index of reviews for the year 2002
Return to master reviews index
Return to main theatre page
Return to Shutters homepage