Fifty Shades of Shrew

ensemble theatre · broads' word theatre · United States of America

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June 17, 2015 original article

My overall impression

Linda Muggeridge’s smart and sexy costumes are no small part of the entertainment quotient in this condensed all-female production of The Taming of the Shrew, which casts a benign and playful eye on BDSM. A fierce yet doleful Katharina (Jennifer Albert) makes her first appearance in slinky black leather while her supposedly doe-like sister Bianca (Tara Donovan) shows up in high heels, white stockings and a short frilly white skirt. When Petruchio (Dawn Alden), rolls in, the choleric Katharina drawn to him, despite herself. And it turns out that the gentle Bianca also enjoys these games, playing dominant mistress with her lover, Lucentio (Dana DeRuyck), by spanking him lightly in the midst of their affectionate embraces. Directed by Danielle Ozymandias, the overriding tone of the piece is tongue-in-cheek; it succeeds by virtue of the performers’ ability to zero in on some key aspect of their characters – be it fractiousness or envy or curiosity – and reflect it aptly and humorously. The main drag on the evening is a lengthy pre-show discourse on the nature of BDSM. Read by “Mistress Kara” (the performer’s name is not in the program) it’s a sort of master’s thesis on the subject: lengthy, tedious and repetitive. I’d lose it.

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