Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Review: Taming of the Shrew

Modern day Brixton may sound an incongruous setting for Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, yet celebrated director Robin Norton-Hale's vision pulls it off with flair.

We've been wanting to see more fringe theatre in London and have joined the mailing lists of half a dozen theatres in recent months. Away from the hype and the jukeboxes, the Off-West End scene has a lot to offer.

Our first fringe outing in London, to Southwark Playhouse's Parade, was comfortably one of the top 3 shows I've ever seen. Amped for more, I purchased us season tickets, and tonight we're back to experience Southwark's latest hit; the Bard's Shrew.

Unsurprisingly given the source material, Elexi Walker's Katherine is the clear standout. To deliver perfect Shakespearean dialogue while oozing the sass of a Brixton girl in her 20s is a tall order. That she was able to nail both elements at once demonstrates a clear, magnetic, skill.

The staging is inventive and colourful, cleverly evoking South London without being too cliché through the use of knee-high walls to portray a whole street of shops. Doubtless it won't meet the puritan expectations of every reviewer, but I say there's something appealing to be found in it.

Shakespeare on a week night can be a challenge. Bravo to Southwark for creating an interpretation so freshly engaging without altering the original script.

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