Sunday 29 November 2015

Kiss Me Kate

A What's Good To Do Review

We have seen many theatre productions and musicals over the years but we both agreed that this performance of Kiss Me, Kate was the very best show we have ever seen. 

Kiss Me Kate is a show based around a musical adaptation of The Taming of The Shrew with music by Cole Porter. We had heard of the musical but were not familiar with either the story or music; this didn’t matter at all as we knew from the very first scene that this was going to be an incredible show.

The story is set in a 1940’s theatre where Fred Graham (Quirijn de Lang) is producing, directing and starring in a musical version of “The Taming of the Shrew.” The cast includes his ex-wife playing leading lady Lilli Vanessi (Jeni Bern) and a sexy, young actress, Lois Lane (Tiffany Graves) who has her eyes set on Broadway. 

Many shows make clever use of minimal sets and video projection to set the scene. Not so with this show, the sets were truly impressive and made full use of the large stage area. Kiss Me, Kate is a play within a play and the set superbly highlighted the two different strands, we had the dinginess of the backstage areas and changing rooms and then lavish and colourful set for the on-stage Shakespearian scenes. This is a huge production with around 40 people on stage at one point, it must be a nightmare to manage such large numbers but the choreography was perfect and everyone knew where they should be.
The costumes were outstanding, we had traditional Shakespearean doublet and hose for the Taming of The Shrew scenes and 40’s style clothes for the offstage action.

This is a production by Opera North but even without knowing that, it was obvious that the whole cast were skilled singers. Jeni Bern dazzled with her high notes and sheer power whilst Tiffany Graves was absolutely brilliant in my favourite tune of the night, “Always True to You in my Fashion” sung in a perfect American accent.

Joseph Shovelton and John Savournin also deserve a special mention as the two small time gangsters, performing as a great comic double act and also singing the hilarious “Brush up Your Shakespeare” - a real hit with the audience.

No matter how good the cast, what really makes a musical dazzle is the music. Opera North have their own orchestra, conducted by David Charles Abell, and their music filled the theatre, perfectly accompanying the actors and bringing the show to life.

The Lowry theatre is really easy to get to as it is just off the M602 motorway. There was a Christmas market outside the theatre which we enjoyed walking round prior to the show. There is plenty of parking in the Lowry centre car park and a good choice of restaurants should you wish to eat there.

This was a truly outstanding night out and we came away humming the tunes all the way home. 

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