Kiss Me, Kate, Crucible
Another Op’nin, Another Show. It’s that time again for the Crucible musical to bring us our seasonal dose of razzle dazzle.And Paul Foster’s revival of Cole Porter and Samuel and Bella Spewack’s 1948 classic doesn’t disappoint on that score.
There may be those uncomfortable with the dated gender politics stemming from The Taming of the Shrew around which the musical is based even though the production does its best to tone it down.
All the cast give strong performances but the role of good time girl Lois allows the comic and sexy Amy Ellen Richardson to almost steal the show. As leading lady Lilli Rebecca Lock seizes her moment to bring the house down with I Hate Men and there’s sparky chemistry with Edward Baker-Duly’s suitably puffed-up ham Fred.
Too Darn Hot led by Layton Williams (soon to take over the title role in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie in the West End with the real Jamie in the audience on press night) was the standout among the energetic big ensemble numbers created by choreographer Matt Flint for which the thrust stage is perfect.
The band led by James McKeon are atop Janet Bird’s set which allows the action to switch neatly from backstage to on stage aided by the contrasting costume colours (the ones for the play within a play are perhaps more panto than Shakespeare).
Director Foster unabashedly milks some of those show-stopping numbers but it’s hard to begrudge this warm-hearted production anything.