The Taming of the Shrew (2002): Over the Edge
PrThe Taming of the Shrew (2002)
PRINCIPAL CAST: Zane E. Lucas (Katharine); Adam Neill (Petruchio); Michael Pearce (Baptista, Bianca).
DIRECTORS: Lucian Msamati (credited as Wiina Msamati) and Di Wilson.
This production toured internationally and had a cast of six playing all the roles.
"...this all male, racially diverse and hugely talented company find great depths of comedy and pathos in The Taming of the Shrew. It's cross-dressed, yes, but this Shrew is neither camp nor cheap. Think rather a flexible blend of fun and message making, riotously African when appropriate, sombre received pronunciation when not. The heavy cuts give the actors space to breathe and set up the big comic moments. The cuts leave only two women: the desired Bianca and the 'curst' shrewish Kate...This Shrew has four patriarch roles, which the company gives to ingenious masks and robes on sticks. These 'puppets' are shared around the actors, often hilariously requiring actors to act with himself. Quite totemically African, the masks start the allegory ball rolling: are these heads of houses parodies of contemporary Zimbabwean officialdom, all pompous, money-grubbing corruptability? Perhaps the put-upon Kate is generations of Africans - white, black or inbetween - who have learned to tug a forelock and say 'yes, lord' without letting irony twinkle their eye. You could get carried away with this, and Over the Edge don't. Rather they are just using one of Shakespeare's more politically uncomfortable comedies to entertain. Secondarily, perhaps, in the crystal sharp focus on Kate's pain and ultimate dignity, they show us a way to live in trying times. All of us, not just Zimbabweans." ~ James Mulligan, The Scotsman, 24 August 2002