Shakespeare Comedy with a 1950s Twist

Shakespeare Comedy with a 1950s Twist

Shakespeare's feast of humour and sexual politics, The Taming of the Shrew, is being reimagined in 1950s Italy when Phoenix Ensemble presents the classic comedy at Beenleigh’s Pavilion Theatre over four weekends in April and May 2015.

The Taming of the Shrew is a romp through the romantic entanglements of the Minola sisters: "shrewish" Katherina and her “sweet” younger sister Bianca.

As Shakespeare tells it, a surplus of suitors for Bianca prompts their father to impose the condition that Katherina must be married before Bianca – sparking a series of secret deals, assumed identifies and unconventional courtship.

Director Roslyn Johnson describes the Phoenix production as “Shakespeare with a twist”, setting the comedy in 1950s Italy.

“Audiences who love classic films like Roman Holiday will recognise the inspiration for the visual style,” she says.

"There is some re-contextualisation that respects the text but helps the audience. Our 15th Century Italian merchant becomes a 1950s Italian restaurateur with just a touch of Mafioso.

"The text, however, is paramount and we have worked hard to respect the iambic pentameter and master the art of delivering it with comic timing. But where the words become challenging, the physical comedy will help out the audience.”

Roslyn says she always loved the film version starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, but it was only after she stumbled across a version starring John Cleese that realised the story's full comedic potential.

"Anyone who likes the 'boy meets girl, girl hates boy, boy and girl fight but fall in love' kind of story will enjoy this show.”

Venue: Pavilion Theatre, Beenleigh Showgrounds, James Street, Beenleigh

7.30pm: 24, 25 April, 1, 2, 8, 9, 15 and 16 May

Tickets:  $26 adult, $24 concession and children

Bookings:3103 1546 or online: www.phoenixensemble.com.au

Image: Rebecca Lamb and Lachlan Clark

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