Kiss me, Kate is the latest in a string of musicals presented at the London Coliseum. This production is courtesy of Opera North and tells the tale of a group of actors staging a musical adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew.
Originally staged in 1948, this show is well staged with a clever and interesting set, sumptuous costumes and is well choreographed and directed. However, sat in the deep recess of the Coliseum’s dress circle, the sound was a little underwhelming at times, the overture being a notable example as coming across lukewarm. With the might of Opera North’s orchestra, it was disappointing not to be swept away by a wave of music.
The show features several songs that are known outside of the musical. Another Op’nin, Another Show, Too Darn Hot and Brush up your Shakespeare have endured the test of time and are Cole Porter Classics. All the numbers are well staged and delivered showing the strength of the company and direction is in the music. Many of the songs have strong comedic elements and land well with the audience and it is these songs that are the highlights of the show. The weaker elements are the dialogue scenes. This is not a criticism of the production, rather an observation of the 70-year-old material. The concept of the show, mistaken identity, gangsters and a play in a play, makes for a great farce however it feels it never quite reaches its crescendo.
The short runs of classic musicals at the Coliseum are a great way to see shows that might not sustain a full run in the West End and perhaps can work as a platform to re-examine some great stories but with a chance to give a fresh eye in the way that Julian Fellowes and Stiles and Drewe did with the successful Chichester production of Half a Sixpence.
Kiss Me, Kate ends its run at the London Coliseum 30 June. Book your tickets here.
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