Wednesday, April 04, 2012
The Taming of the Shrew
Petruchio's reverse-psychology and fact-denying wooing are a comic delight, as always, made all the stronger by Groteleuschen's absolute confidence and by Siff's perfect partnering, from gasping double-takes and resolute put-downs to some far-flung spittle and physical comedy. John Keating (who plays Tranio), John Christopher Jones (as old Gremio), and Saxon Palmer (as Hortensio) get in on the more exaggeratedly fun aspects of the wooing, but the rest of the ensemble is a mixed bag, ranging from the diligently expository servant, Biondello (Varin Ayala), to Kate's thanklessly bland father, Baptista (Robert Langdon Lloyd), and simply unbelievable wooers, Lucentio (Denis Butkus) and Kate's sister, Bianca (Kathryn Saffell). You can literally feel the energy draining from the stage when the two leads are absent, which is further evidence that Arbus is not entirely sure what story she aims to communicate with this version of Shrew.