The 2003 ‘Regime Change’ season at Shakespeare’s Globe saw the theatre belatedly extend its original practices experiments – which had included a number of productions with all-male casts – to a single-sex, women-led company, performing Richard III and The Taming of the Shrew in repertory. Phyllida Lloyd joined the project late in the day after Barry Kyle left the production, and the result (as seen on the archive video at Shakespeare’s Globe) is a joyful, comic, and playfully satirical take on the play that celebrates the bodies and improvisatory skill of the company’s women.AllhqFashion Women's Blend Materials Solid Lace Up Round Closed Toe Kitten Heels Pumps-shoesAllhqFashion Women's Low-Heels PU Solid Pull-On Pointed Closed Toe Pumps-shoes, bluee, 36.Jean Sche Sweat Women's Flock High-Heels Pointed Closed Toe Solid Pull-on Pumps-shoesLadies New Summer Elastic Buckle Sandals Solid color Herringbone Sandals ZHHZZ.
For Lloyd’s company, men are a species unto themselves. Even rival suitors Hortensio (Yolanda Vazquez) and Gremio (Penelope Dimind) slap one another’s backs and share mutually reinforcing shouts and grunts. Petruchio, when he emerges in the imposing six-foot form of Janet McTeer, Minishion GYAYL457 Womens Stiletto High Wedge Satin Evening Party Bridal Wedding Sandals shoesDuduxiaomaibu Women's shoes Faux Suede Ankel Buckle Cross Straps Pointed Toe High Heels Pumpsis the most alpha of the males, embodying a slightly swaggering but entirely self-possessed confidence that brooks no argument.
This commedia-inflected production plays the Shrew fairly straight, for laughs, and without the induction that might give it an ironic frame. Instead, any critique and irony comes from within the performances themselves, as the company allow the play to be a comedy but allow that comedy to push to uncomfortable places. Kathryn Hunter’s Katherina is a spoiled woman-child, stamping her feet and shouting wordlessly when she doesn’t get her way,AmoonyFashion Women's Lace Up Pointed Closed Toe Kitten Heels Solid Pumps-shoesAmoonyFashion Women's Open Toe Low Heels Zipper Assorted color Sandals and in the early scenes Petruchio brilliantly turns this against her when informing the other men that they have agreed she will do this – when she stamps, the men clap and cheer her; when she shouts, they turn it into a huzzah, depriving her of her best weapons. Her abuse of her sister Bianca (Laura Rogers) is thorough and quite violent, but this comes from justifiable resentment at the clear favouritism of her father Baptista (Anna Healy). Katherina has undeniable problems, but watching her passed over by her father and gaslit by her wooer is still hard to watch.
During the second half, at Petruchio’s house, the strategies are very clear and centred around food. In a clever move, Lloyd brings onstage Petruchio’s spaniel Troilus, an actor in a dog costume, who takes an immediate dislike to Katherina; Katherina tries to flee from the dog, AmoonyFashion Women's Open Toe Buckle Pu Solid Kitten-Heels SandalsAmoonyFashion Womens Open Toe Low Heel Soft Material Solid Sandals with Glass Diamond, gold, 8 B(M) USthen beats it with a broom, leaving it whimpering away to get the sympathy of the servants. Later, Katherina sneaks up to the dog while it and Grumio sleep to steal its boneLifeStride Womens Parigi Block Dress Pump,FAT BABY 2019 Buckle Strap Women Gladiator Sandals Peep Toe Thick Heels Women Sandals Soft Leather Big Size shoesWomens Bling Crystal Bohemian Slide Sandal Wedges Flip Flops Slipper Slip On Mule her hunger absolutely desperate by this point. Later, as a reward, Petruchio gives Katherina some food, but then embraces her and coddles her while Hortensio finishes it off. And increasingly it becomes obvious that Petruchio is treating Katherina exactly like his dog, right down to the whistles and shouts of ‘Here’. A&N Ladies Bows Spikes Stilettos Pointed-Toe Suede Pumps-shoes
The comedy of the production is sincere, then, but leads to uncomfortable positions. Hunter’s virtuoso physical skills allow her to be tumbled upside down when she fights against Petruchio, and to be carried around the stage in all kinds of undignified postures;WeenFashion Women's Buckle PU Peep-Toe High-Heels Solid SandalsWeenFashion Women's Round-Toe Kitten-Heels PU Solid Buckle Pumps-shoes yet the audience’s laughter seems to doubly imply both recognition of her skill and enjoyment of her subjugation. The applause of the audience in the archive video after Katherina comes to Petruchio at his command seems sincere, as it the audience are approving the taming. It’s a microcosm of a production in which men are consistently awful throughout, but always mutually congratulatory.
The standout sequence, though, is Katherina’s final speech. At Petruchio’s command,AllhqFashion Women's Solid Frosted High-Heels Round-Toe Pull-on Pumps-shoes she gives a speech of a few lines, and gets applause and approval from her husband. But then she goes for another few lines, and another, and another. An increasingly anxious Petruchio tries to get her to be quiet, but she begins exaggerating the speech more and more, getting up on the banquet table and flashing her legs, and finally lying down in a mockery of Petruchio,WeenFashion Women's PU Round-Toe Low-Heels Buckle Solid Pumps-shoes, Pink, 37Open Toe Buckle Sandals Ladies Thick High Heel Leather Summer Roman High Heels (color A, Size 5.5 US) before flouncing offstage.Sam Carle Women's Pumps Pointed-Toe Thin Heel Wear Resistant Spring Pump We see a glimpse of them having a fight in Italian, suggesting that Katherina is far from ‘tamed’, and indeed will continue to assert herself against Petruchio indefinitely, even as she learns to play the game of this patriarchal world. It’s a quiet reclamation of the play, but a potent one.