Reviewed by Tony Annicone
The Players opening show of their 93rd season is "The Taming of the Shrew". Although this show is politically incorrect for current day audiences, the inclusion of musical numbers from "Kiss Me Kate", help to make it the tongue in cheek show it needs to be. The 20 member cast's different acting styles during the Shakespearean dialogue become more cohesive during the song presentations chosen by director Cait Calvo. The farce of the piece shines through its music by letting the audience figure out what is happening.
The show is done as a traveling company and opens with a spectacular chorus of" We Open in Venice" and "Another Openin". The cast shows its singing and dancing skills immediately. The two leads are played by Mauro Canepa and Laura Sorensen. Mauro learned the enormous role of Petruchio in three weeks. He does well as the swaggering, self assured husband. He shows how to control his shrew wife and breaks through the barrier of words Kate puts up between herself and marriage. He enters singing, "I've Come to Wive It Wealthily in Padua". Laura is wonderful as Kate, the shrew. Her transformation is well done. Her song, "I Hate Men" is excellent and fits the character perfectly. Laura shows her strength as an actress in this demanding role.
Lucentio and Bianca are played by Jesse Reiswig and Kelly Crowley. Both performers play up the zaniness needed for these roles. Jesse is especially funny posing as a bowlegged school teacher. Kelly plays the beautiful daughter, a much desired object of passionin the town and brings many laughes to the crowd in her "Tom, Dick or Harry" song. Her other two suitors are played by JP Cottam and Richard Crowley. JP as Gremio is an older neighbor lusting after Bianca and Richard as Hortensio ends up marrying a widow but woos Bianca first by disguising himself as a lisping music teacher. Both men do well in their comic parts. The father figure in the show is played by Ron Mutton. He makes Baptista, the long suffering father of Kate and Bianca become joyful when he sees the transformation of his willfull daughter after years of her bad behavior.
The biggest scene stealers in the show are the men's servants, Grumio played by Brian Olsen and Tranio played by Robert Reynolds. They get beaten up and thrown about the stage. Both men give strong farcical performances with super facial expressions and acrobatic movements. Brian somersaults every time he's thrown about and Robert walks around on stilts at the opening and is beaten up by Lucentio in the first scene. Both men do well as Shakespeare's clowns.
The other cast members playing various roles include Emeline Allen, Preston Atwood, Steve Demers, Bill Dunn, Jennie and Tom Norton, Barbara Remington, Kathy Wasserlein, Elizabeth Whitcomb and Sasha Wiseman. The strolling minstrel, Alan McLaughlin plays his guitar during the show. He and the entire cast lift it up to the final climatic moment with the hilarious, "Brush Up Your Shakespeare".
A lot of hard work by many people who aided Calvo in her difficult task include Tom Norton as the set designer, Sharon Charette as the costume designer and her hard working stage manager, Michele Bourget and the entire crew.
To become a member of the Players for their 93rd season call Lydia at 273-0590 or e-mail her at ThePlayers1909@aol.com Tell them Tony sent you.