A difficult play at the best of times, but perhaps even more so in today’s climate of concern about stopping violence against women. Past productions were so focused on how to handle the last scene – does Kate submit or does she really win? that they glossed over the horrible violence done to her.
This production handled both issues admirably. You cannot eliminate the violence without destroying the play, but you can show that both partners suffered as a result of it. The performances of Ben Carlson as Petruchio and Deborah Hay as Kate were nuanced and carefully balanced.
Chris Abraham demonstrated again that he can handle the demands of Shakespeare and the modern audience. The introduction, where he spoofed last year’s Midsummer Night’s Dream and the actors who were in it, was funny even if you missed the in jokes.
Too many great performances to list them all, but special mention must be made of Brian Tree as Grumio and Tom Rooney as Tranio.