The Taming of the Shrew
- Lorna Irvine
- 22 March 2019
Jo Clifford goes where other Shakespearean adaptors fear to tread
Jo Clifford's reputation as naughty fairy godmother and provocateur is further reinforced with this exquisite, witty production which refuses to behave itself. It seems knockabout, but is really a profound exploration of identity, modern queer politics and the dodgy subtexts of Shakespeare at his most divisive.
A glorious cast of seven present a sort of cabaret, with meta jokes galore, and a wild lampooning of the marriage between a strutting, entitled Petruchio (Scarlett Brookes) and pouty brat Katherina (Matt Gaven) who flip roles as effortlessly as insults.
Madeleine Girling and Lizzie Howe's witty set, shaped like a sundial, is both catwalk and gladiatorial arena, where sex becomes a constant battlefield. And the vignettes, ranging from moving monologues on domestic violence to academic skewerings, flow like communion wine.
Alexandria Riley and Hannah Jarrett-Scott's divas sing beautifully (particularly Lizzo's 'Boys') and bring a carnivalesque approach – and disruption – to their own omnipotence and any notions of the other characters' spiritual growth. To paraphrase another wonderful diva, 'Just like a prayer, Jo'll take you there'.
Tron Theatre, Glasgow, until Sat 30 March.