Review: The Taming of the Shrew, Theatre in the Forest, Red Rose Chain, Jimmy’s Farm, to August 25

Red Rose Chain Theatre in the Forest 2013, Taming of the Shrew

Red Rose Chain Theatre in the Forest 2013, Taming of the Shrew - Credit: Archant

Fast, furious and very, very funny; we were laughing all the way home.

Kate the Curst and Petruchio’s unusual courtship is one of my favourite Shakespearian comedies so I’m a bit biased, but this was the best of the four theatre in the forests I’ve seen.

The new setting of Jimmy’s Farm was stunning and the perfect fit for Red Rose. The staging and use of the space was so inventive, with several great set-pieces.

The random musical interludes were hilarious as were the songs, which are still rattling around in my head as I type. It was full of many memorable moments I won’t spoil by revealing here, not least those pants. You’ll see what I mean when you see the show, which I beg you to do.

Fast-paced, with the six-strong cast of Kirsty Thorpe, Scott Ellis, Joel Johnson, Laurence Pears, Owen Morgan and Beatrice Rose playing muliple characters, you were never confused who was who (or pretending to be who) - a testament to them and Joanna Carrick’s direction. Jimmy Grimes deserves special mention for the three servants who look and are operated so well you forgot they’re puppets.

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This was a sexy take on the story, but not in a way that makes it unsuitable for kids. The chemistry between Thorpe’s Katharina and Ellis’ Petruchio sizzled and it was good to see her end still as fiesty rather than a simpering shadow of who she was.

The whole cast were amazing though. They negotiated the rollicking, witty wordplay and fall off your seat slapstick routines - my heart goes out to regular targets Morgan and Pears - with ease.

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A must see.

Wayne Savage

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