Saturday, August 20, 2016



Is there enough money, gold, jewels or treasure in the world to persuade you to marry a person of shrewish disposition, a fiend with a cursed tongue and a sour temperament?  A wasp who stings with words and battles with physical arms?  Would this be your prize package?  But if you look long and hard enough like Hortensio and old Gremio do, you might just find a likely candidate in the supremely confident Petruchio (Ian Eaton) who has conveniently come from Padua with his man servant Grumio (Mark Friedlander) for the sole purpose of matrimony.

You are invited to settle back on blanket or beach chair, with or without picnic basket, on the lovely shores along Stratford’s American Shakespeare Festival Theatre grounds, outdoors at sunset, for a delightful production of “The Taming of the Shrew” until Sunday, August 21, evenings at 8 p.m. by CT Free Shakespeare Company, enjoying its 17th season of fine family entertainment.

Hortensio (Ryan Halsaver) and old Gremio (Andrew Bryce) have a selfish reason for inveigling Petruchio’s help. They want him to marry the obstinent Katherina (Katrina Foy), the elder daughter of Baptista (Craig Anthony Bannister), for it is only when Kate is wed that his pretty agreeable younger daughter Bianca (Marca Leigh) will then be free to select a mate.  Both Hortensio and old Gremio are vying for that honor.

All this confused merriment is a play or a ploy to entertain a drunken man named Christopher Sly (Myles Tripp) who has wandered on stage to make him believe he is a nobleman.  Soon another complication enters town when Lucentio (Joel Oramas) arrives in Padua with his servant Tranio (Uma Incrocci) and his court jester Biondello (Alejandro Lopez) for the purpose of study at university, only to instantly fall in love with Bianca too and enter the race to woo and win her.

In a matter of minutes Petruchio has offered for the hand of a evil devil Kate and everyone else has donned disguises to be in Bianca’s company to tutor her in music, Latin or poetry.  With a ton of reverse psychology, Petruchio has Kate believing the sun is the moon, that no clothing or food is good enough for her and that all her mean words are mellow and sweet.  Petruchio has truly tamed his shrew.

Ellen Lieberman does a noble job creating this deliciously rich tale, introducing clever sound effects and modern music to add to the tale’s joy.

Run to the park with friends and family in tow to catch this comedy by the Bard before it doth vanisheth.

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