The Taming of the Shrew (2008): Royal Shakespeare Company, The Courtyard Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

PrThe Taming of the Shrew (

Location: The Courtyard Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
Live Performance

PRINCIPAL CAST: Stephen Boxer (Petruchio); Michelle Gomez (Katherina); David Hargreaves (Baptista Minola); Amara Karan (Bianca).

This production ran from 24 April - 25 September 2008 at the Courtyard Theatre, then transferred to the Novello Theatre, London from 12 February - 7 March 2009.

"In this continuously inventive but punishingly long production, the director Connall Morrisson pays Shakespeare the compliment of staging the play he actually wrote. We get the original induction...And this strange prelude is presented with panache, set in modern times and beginning at a lap-dancing club from which Sly is violently expelled after biting one of the dancers on the bum. The players then perform in traditional Renaissance costumes, with Sly assuming the role of Petruchio. The old comic routines, many of them based on commedia dell'arte, are played with genuine zest (though they still strike me as awesomely unfunny), and there is no attempt to soften the play's constant sadistic cruelty."  ~ Charles Spencer, "Mysterious lure of cruelty", Daily Telegraph, 6 May 2008

"When black actor Larrington Walker is cast as a merchant who impersonates a white character's father, is Morrison making a point about racism as well as sexism (a point that is too subtle for the audience to spot, as evidenced by the peels of uncomplicated laughter at black and white characters doing the same cartoon Jamaicanisms), or has he a general blind spot as to how this reverberates upon the sexual prejudice? As I say, blowed if I know."  ~ Ian Shuttleworth, Financial Times, 5 May 2008

"The counterpointed Commedia Dell'Arte sub-plot, with its disguises and male-longings for Amara Khan's dull Bianca, is played with an over-pitched farcical exuberance that left me cold and unamused."  ~ Nicholas de Jongh, Evening Standard, 2 May 2008, in Theatre Record 2008, Issue 9

"With Amara Khan's Bianca and her wooer, Patrick Moy's Lucentio, escalating a romantic encounter into feverish rear-end sex, I longed for the deft comedy and psychological subtlety to be found in the play. Neither materialises."  ~ Benedict Nightingale, The Times, 3 May 2008, in Theatre Record 2008, Issue 9