Bard on the Beach

Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew

Venue: Vanier Park

Dates:26 June-23 September 2001

Reviewer: Jane Penistan

One would be hard put to it to know better how to tame a shrew than does Glynis Leyshon and The Bard on the Beach company under the tent in Vanier Park. Beautifully set and magnificently costumed, this infectious performance is full of life, love, and merriment.

Paying close attention to the text, Christopher Sly is in a dream and part of the action from start to finish. This is very skillfully managed by the director and the actors. Sly, charmingly played by Christopher Gaze, sometimes watches his fellows, at others he chats with them or listens in to intimate conversations. He even helps out by placing stage props.

Petruchio and Kate have an immediate rapport, although they spend much of the play denying it. All the cast enjoy the fun that Shakespeare gives them, and their effervescent high spirits and high jinks enchant the audience. This production is truly a midsummer night's dream, full of fantastic plots and deceptions, all happily resolved with wit and wisdom. There are a few minor flaws in the course of the evening, and they will surely disappear as the season proceeds. To comment on them would be nitpicking. By the same token, touches of artistic genius offset them.

Even had the opening night been chilly, grey, and dull instead of warm, bright, and sunny, this would still have been a brilliant performance. The company plays as a company, the acting is good and so is the diction, and the director trusts both the text and the cast.

Congratulations and thanks to the Bard company for this truly delightful Shrew. How lucky Vancouver is to have this show for the summer. It will be enjoyed by all ages, and seats will probably become difficult to get as word gets around about an exceptionally enjoyable evening. Book your tickets soon and don't miss this one!

The Taming of the Shrew runs in repertory with Anthony and Cleopatra from 26 June to 23 September on Tuesday through Friday at 20.00, Saturday at 16.00 and 20.30, and Sunday at 19.00 until 2 September. Tickets from The Bard on the Beach box office: 604.738.0559.

© 2001, Jane Penistan

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