Foolishly, I mentioned to my book group that I was not a big fan of Shakespeare – that I had never been moved by reading or seeing one of his plays – perhaps the closest I ever got was when I watched Baz Luhrmann’s film of “Romeo and Juliet” but that probably had more to do with Leo playing Romeo than anything else.
Next thing I knew it was all agreed that for our next book we would be reading “Taming Of The Shrew” and then going to see it live at The Globe theatre a month later. We hadn’t ever done a play together before so it was a great school outing for us all. I didn’t enjoy the reading part of play – it’s silly and sexist and confusing with men pretending to be other men, or indeed women – imagine how all the more confusing it must have been back in Shakespeare’s day when all the actors had to be men anyway.
The Taming of the Shrew is as a result of it’s ridiculously sexist bias a difficult play for a modern audience – impossible to watch Kate being cruelly mentally and physically being beaten into submission by her new husband in this day and age – and it’s meant to be a comedy…but, the production of the play we went to see was brilliant. Director Caroline Byrne has delivered a brave and modern take on the story, set at the time of the Easter Rising in Ireland in 1916.
But visiting The Globe for the first time was a hugely uplifting experience – we all loved it, just such a beautiful old building:-
and the inside is so atmospheric and traditional – you can pay just £5 to stand and watch the play or up to £30 to have a seat. Make sure you bring warm clothes even if sitting under cover as it’s open to the elements and if you’re standing bring waterproofs!
Aoiaf Duffin plays a brilliantly feisty Kate:
and is well supported by all the cast – especially a supremely good looking Edward MacLiam playing the gold digging Petruchio:-
The play is still funny at times, but given the new setting, a whole new context emerges whereby the issues of sexism and oppression are presented very cleverly, with the help of a very well designed set and some incredibly costumes – it provides an in your face analysis of the story without taking away the original text and it is very, very enjoyable.
So I’m glad I made the statement that prompted enough of an uproar from my fellow book groupers to get us out and about and I’m very pleased to report that I was wrong. I can enjoy a Shakespeare play when it is as clever and engaging as this one is. Go and see it at The Globe where Shakespeare should be seen, you won’t regret it. It’s on until the 6th August so you still have time to book!