Kiss Me Kate
28th June 2018
Gala Theatre Durham
Type of Production
Christopher Carr & Lesley-Anne Crawford
Author: Michelle Coulson
“Kiss Me Kate” is really a show within a show based on Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” and contains some of Cole Porter’s greatest musical theatre songs. It is about the turbulent relationship between the actor and production manager, Frederick Graham and his leading lady and ex-wife, Lilli Vanessi together with a sub plot of chaos involving Fred’s lover, Lois Lane and her gambling boyfriend Bill Calhoun, not to mention the two gangsters who are demanding IOU money from Bill and subsequently Fred.
The large orchestra made a wonderful sound, they brought the beautiful updated score to life brilliantly and the new, more jazz centred orchestrations were a pleasure to listen to. The transitions from the portrayal of back stage to front stage flowed seamlessly and the lighting plot was well planned and enhanced the scenes.
The show opened with the hustle and bustle of “Another Op’nin’, Another Show” which was a super introduction to the characters and the backstage setting with superb solo vocals from Wendy Hindmarch as dresser Hattie. The ensemble numbers were all good but the highlight for me was “Too Darn Hot” (which also gained an empathic giggle from the audience due to the current climate), the dancing and singing were good and there was a strong solo vocal performance from David O’Donnel as Paul.
All of the supporting character roles were well portrayed and the dancers gave flawless presentations of Kathleen’s first-rate choreography.
Pascalle Rossle as Lois Lane/ Bianca was excellent, her characterisation, singing and dancing were all on pointe and “Always True to You” was a highlight of the show. The role of her on stage suitor Bill Calhoun/Lucentio was in the capable hands of Guy Lawes and his number “Bianca” with the dancers was super. The show’s two hapless gangsters, played by Steve Norman and Paul Maddison were audience favourites and their “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” was a comic delight before the show’s finale.
The experience and vocal ability of the two leads in this production shone through; Delia McNally as Lilli Vanessi/Kate and Anthony Smith as Frederick Graham/Pertruchio were superb and gave terrific interpretations of these substantial roles. There were many stand out vocal performances by these two formidable performers but my personal favourites were “So in Love” and “Where is the Life that Late I Led”.
This was the first production for DMTC under the direction of Christopher and Lesley- Anne and I think they should be very proud; they gave an old classic musical new life and gave us a very stylish and entertaining production. Well done everyone.