It’s been a long time since Kim and I have done a show together. Last time we shared a stage was Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, which was a while ago now. So it’s been a real blessing to have a chance to act together again, this time in Nash Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.
Shrew’s not an easy beast to tame, as anyone who’s actually read the script will tell you. You can’t just plonk it in the middle of a high school, chuck on a happy ending and call it Ten Things I Hate About Misogyny.
What you can do, apparently, is plonk it in the middle of a biker bar, tack on an ending where half the cast ends up dead and call it a creative interpretation.
Seriously; have you read this thing? There’s no way you could do it as written in the twenty first century and not be run out of town by angry feminists, who would probably have the right of it in this instance. I mean, sure, we did a production of it in high school that followed the canonical text, but even then I think we did something sneaky with Kat’s relationship to Petruchio and, besides, that was so last century.
Incidentally, that production was my first ever taste of a proper stage show, and I was only on for about forty seconds as the haberdasher. I freaking nailed it too.
Twenty years later, I made the upgrade to Hortensio, the brazen yet hair-brained suitor to Bianca. I’m not sure which persona I carried off less convincingly; the lascivious mafioso...
or the amorous music tutor,
but I’m fairly sure I did enough to make Hortensio comprehensibly unlikeable. That gross bastard definitely earned his death.
It was also one of the best casts I’ve ever worked with. I can’t remember a cast that I’ve had more fun with since R & G are D, and in that one we were all best friends before we even started. This time we even made a T-shirt.
It was great to find a community theatre group that we felt right at home with from the start. Watch out for more adventures with Nash Theatre later in the year!
All photographs in this article appear courtesy of the remarkably talented Alan Gamble.
Make of that what you will.
Garry with 2 Rs