Theater Info for the St. Louis region

Clayton High School The Taming of the Shrew

By • Nov 10th, 2011 • Category: Cappies

William Shakespeare was a brilliant man. He wrote many of the world’s greatest tragedies, such as Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet. Many people forget, however, that some of Shakespeare’s best work was in his comedies. Clayton High School reminded everyone of this in their production of The Taming of the Shrew. After this performance, there was no doubt that Shakespeare wrote some very funny plays.

The Taming of the Shrew is a play written by William Shakespeare sometime between the years of 1590 and 1594. It is a play inside of a play, starting off with a lord telling a drunken man that he is a nobleman and showing him a play for his amusement. This show is about a man named Petruchio (played by Fergus Inder) attempting to make a woman, Katherine (played by Amanda Wagner) into a better wife. The two are introduced because Lucentio (Robbie Love) and Gremio (James Kerr), two suitors, are attempting to steal the heart of Katherine’s younger sister, Bianca (Sarah Lerwick). However, as the older sister Katherine must get married before Bianca. And thus, the story begins.

The lead characters both played their characters well. Inder was very convincing as a rude stereotypical man of the time, while Wagner thoroughly demonstrated her character’s progression from a shrew-like woman to an obedient wife. One of the best scenes of the play occurred when the two met, and Inder begins persuading Wagner that she must marry him. They played the scene in a very entertaining and interesting way, allowing the audience to see the nature of their relationship when they first meet.

One of the most fascinating characters in this show, however, was Grumio (played by Lewis Grant). Grant played Inder’s servant, and he did so in a very fascinating way by taking on a Scottish dialect. This interesting way of speaking was further emphasized by his interesting way of moving; he seemed to be always on his toes, ready to move at a moment’s notice, providing his character with a spastic yet fun appearance.

In terms of the technical side of the show, there was not too much to speak of. The most significant was their stage crew, moving objects around in between scenes seamlessly despite the room being extremely dark.

The problems with this show were not terribly apparent, however they were present. At times, it felt as if the actors were talking too quickly or not speaking with enough diction. This is a serious problem for a Shakespearian play, as people in the modern world do not talk the same way that they did back then, and thus it is challenging to understand it as it is. Another issue was that it felt as if some of the larger characters had a sense of chemistry among them that seemed to be lost in many of the supporting roles.

A definition of the word tame is lacking in excitement. However, this show was anything but that. Clayton High provided those who watched it with an entertaining afternoon filled with interesting characters, funny events, and less than modern day morals. Clayton delivered a great performance that was anything but tame.

by Matthew Greenbaum of Parkway Central High School

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