London Coliseum – until 30th June 2018
Reviewed by Elizabeth J Smith
Two big Show”s in one, “Wunderbar”
Kiss me Kate is the story of a 1940’s production company’s opening night of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew where the two lead character’s, Fred Graham ( Quirijn De Lang) and Lilli Vanessi (Stephanie Corley) are bickering ex-spouses whose worlds are set to collide. Then you have show girl Lois Lane (Zoe Rainey) and her gambler boyfriend (Alan Burkitt), who is being pursued by gangster’s, to set the scene for some funny antics and battle of the sexes.
“Another opening another show” is a spectacular full company piece, full of energy and sets the pace for the whole performance.
Quirin De Lang gives an excellent performance as Fred Graham, being enough of a chauvinist to get the message across but turns on a little more campness when playing Petruchio. His stage strut contained just enough mincing with effeminate hand gestures.
Stephanie Corley plays the diva in both roles (Lilli/Kate) and once again turning up the bitchiness to play Kate, the shrew, a bad tempered, aggressive and overly assertive woman.
Zoe Rainey is the energetic Lois Lane and Bianca, skilfully the two characters emerge in the Shakespearean part providing some laughs and her rendition of “always true to you in my fashion” is sweet and sassy.
Alan Burkitt, Lucentio, gives a most energetic tap dance performance with the song “Bianca” and racks up the laughs with “Tom, Dick and Harry” (Jack Wilcox/Piers Bate)
Bring on the two gunman ( Joseph Shovelton / John Savournin) for some farcical comedy as they too have to perform Shakespeare and their rendition of “Brush up your Shakespeare” brought back memories of great double acts like “Morecome and Wise” with their physical differences providing some great choreographed funnies.
The big company numbers filled the stage with sizzling choreography and great characteristics for both performances. “Too Darn Hot” was filled with sexual tension and you could feel the temperature rise, Paul (Stephane Anelli) leaves you feeling breathless after his performance.
The choreography by Will Tuckett and David James Hilston was inspired, capturing the humour of the piece and filling the stage for a wonderful visual impact. The costumes, Colin Richmond, provide the divide between the two pieces, as does the set design which gives you a real felling that you are watching two separate performances.
The singing in this performance is a delight to listen to. All the cast have wonderful voices that
were clear and powerful without the over singing you can get in more contemporary pieces today.
Just because you have a big voice doesn’t mean you need to use it.
My only criticism is of Malcolm Ridley (Harrison Howell) who I felt dropped his character accent
from time to time, which I found slightly distracting.
If you fancy a big night out, with great singing, great dancing and a lot of giggles, capturing all the
razzmatazz of a big Broadway show “Kiss me Kate” delivers on all levels.