The 30th Season of Bard on the Beach is underway, with Taming of the Shrew starting the season under the tents at Vanier Park. There are few spots in Vancouver nicer to spend a summer evening, add in a new adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s classic comedies by a brilliant company and it’s a near perfect theatre experience.
Taming of the Shrew tells the story of the fair Bianca and her sister, foul Katherine (Kate), and their suitors. Lady Baptista, the sister’s mother, has decreed that Bianca may not marry until after the elder Katherine is suitably married, much to the chagrin of Bianca’s many admirers. Seeing mutual benefit from working together, Bianca’s beaus conspire to find a husband for the shrewish Kate. Success comes with the arrival of Petruchio, who, in need of her large dowry, steps up to the challenge. Upon marriage, Petruchio ‘breaks’ Kate with a series of psychological gamesmanship and returns to Padua victorious in his taming of the shrew…or was he?
Shifted from late 16th Century Italy to the late 1800s America West, Director Lois Anderson has created a play that fits well into its new era. Costume Designer Mara Gottler and Set Designer Cory Sincennes have crafted a look straight out of Gunsmoke.
Leading the cast, Jennifer Lines and Andrew McNee play off of each nicely as Kate and Petruchio. Ms Lines’ intense and dramatic Kate contrasts with McNee’s comedic skills and mugging. Kate Besworth’s sweet, giggling Bianca was a contrast to Line’s abrupt character. Kamyar Pazandeh’s Lucentio, stood out amongst Bianca’s many suitors. Portraying his servant Triano, Chirag Naik is always dependable, both the character and actor.
At 2.5 hours, the light comedy is nicely paced to keep the show moving and manages to avoid feeling long. See for yourself why Taming of the Shrew makes for an enjoyable Spaghetti Western / Shakespearean mash-up.
Taming of the Shrew runs, in repertoire with Shakespeare In Love, until September 21, 2019 at Bard on the Beach tents at Vanier Park (behind Museum of Vancouver). Information and tickets are available online at bardonthebeach.org.