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“The Taming of the Shrew” presented by Seattle Shakespeare Company | Arts Stage – Seattle Rage

“The Taming of the Shrew” presented by Seattle Shakespeare Company

You’ve just got to love those rough living, rowdy folks in the down-and-out trailer park on stage in Seattle Shakespeare Company’s ‘Taming of the Shrew”. It may not be exactly as the play is usually presented, but it has all the bawdy, rollicking elements that would have delighted the Bard’s16th Century audiences.

In this adaptation it’s Mama Baptista who guards her daughters rather than their father. Karen Jo Fairbanks makes a shrewd Mama, yes a bit unkempt and lacking in decorum, but she’s a steel-willed autocrat who is determined to marry off Kate, her older, raging bull of a daughter before she’ll release her prized, lovely and lovable younger daughter Bianca. She doesn’t have much luck until Petruchio comes charging in on his motorcycle, backing up his swagger with buff masculinity and the tactics of seasoned battlefield general.

It’s a dream cast on stage here. Clearly the actors love their roles and love the joy their trashy production provides for audiences. Brenda Joyner’s Bianca is winning and willing. Kelly Kitchens as Kate is a bombshell in jeans and a tight top. You just don’t want to get near this firebrand, luscious as she looks! She not only eats up the stage, she eats up any male that comes near her…until Petruchio, that is. This man, marvelously played by David Quicksall, is wily, and has more than enough competence to bring his schemes to fruition.

All this angst plays out on a stage complete with junky trailers, pink flamingos, even a ceramic gnome. In Craig Wollam’s sets, schlocky human debris provides a sharp contrast to the stately trees above, and Jessica Trundy’s lighting emphasizes every mood.

Of course Kate is subdued, a little too quickly and a bit too easily for some of us. But that’s because her submission speaks so loudly of values of the past, not because of any flaws in this production.

Through May 12 at The Playhouse at Seattle Center, 201 Mercer St., Seattle; (206 773-8222 or www.seattleshakespeare.org)

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