The Taming of the Shrew

The Taming of the Shrew

Inn on the Park
St Albans
July 2008

After the great success of our first St Albans production the previous year, we we turned to the 60s for inspiration in setting this production and acquired a fantastic white mini as a stage centrepiece. Another wet summer and the rain did come down on some performances. One evening's final scene was drenched and the actors endured soaked suits and dresses while vocally rising to the noise of rain on audience umbrellas and cagoules.

“Entertaining, good fun and great props. Full of energy, great to watch”
Audience member

“Rooftop clearly appeal to the St Albans theatre-going audience judging by the size of the attendance and the enthusiastic applause”
Herts Advertiser - full review below.


Cast

Petruchio
Rob Lyndon
Katharina
Sally Gilfillan
Grumio
Fiona Belchamber
Madame Minola
Dawn Finch
Gremio
Simon Bolton
Bianca
Wendy Killian
Hortensio
Simon Boughey
Lucentio
Paul Sayers
Tranio
Jonathan Reuben
Pedant
Bob Reitemeier
Vincentio
Richard Brown
Director
Simon Bolton
Producer/ Assistant Director
Paul Sayers

Review

“PERFORMING Shakespeare in the park is a brilliant idea on a balmy summer's night.

Unfortunately Rooftop Theatre Company, which has put on its second such production at the Inn on the Park in Verulamium Park over the last fortnight, has been plagued by the weather yet again.

The cast and audience have faced rain, wind and unseasonably cold weather for July so all credit must go to Rooftop for carrying on regardless — the old adage that the show must go on has never been more apt.

This year Rooftop opted for The Taming of the Shrew and to describe the production as quirky is something of an understatement. Set in the sixties, it featured a clearly much-loved Mini car, very short miniskirts and men — or rather a man — in skirts.

It all made for a slightly odd but enjoyable production of a play which is so politically incorrect it is a wonder it is still performed today.

The story of The Taming of the Shrew, immortalised in the musical Kiss Me Kate, is about the subjugation of the feisty Katharina by her suitor Petruchio. Sally Gilfillan and Rob Lyndon in the two roles used humour as the weapon of subjugation so it was believable that Katharina appeared to bow to the wishes of the boorish Petruchio.

But I was mystified by Petruchio turning up for his wedding in a dress, making him into a figure of fun instead of the male chauvinist he is always perceived to be, although that may have been part of the theme of humour eventually winning her round.

Sally Gilfillan was an excellent Katharina, from her ranting and raving down to her final call for her husband to put his foot on her hand — as she pushed him backwards. She and Rob Lyndon were a well-matched if somewhat odd couple.

Better matched were Paul Sayers as the lovestruck Lucentio and Wendy Killian as the rather soppy Bianca whom all the men were intent on wooing. Dawn Finch as the manipulative Madame Minola, mother of the two girls, hit just the right combination of hard headedness and maternal love.

Fiona Belchamber as Grumio acted her socks off but a combination of the wind on Saturday night and having to recite some very uninspiring lines meant it was hard to follow what she was saying.

Having said that, the youngsters in the audience loved her, watching her avidly and laughing at every nuance of her over-the-top performance.

Rooftop did not quite hit the same note with Taming of the Shrew as they did last year with Love's Labour's Lost but they clearly appeal to the St Albans theatre-going audience judging by the size of the attendance and the enthusiastic applause.

It would be interesting to see them tackle Shakespeare in a more conducive location in the so-called British summer.”

Madeleine Burton, Herts Advertiser
July 2008

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