According to Lincoln Center's new LCT3 project at its slogan, it takes "New Audiences for New Artists." It also takes new critics, hence the establishment of Theater Talk's New Theater Corps in 2005, a way for up-and-coming theater writers and eager new theatergoers to get exposure to the ever-growing theater scene in New York City. Writers for the New Theater Corps are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the off-off and off-Broadway theater scene, learning and giving back high-quality reviews at the same time. Driven by a passion and love of the arts, the New Theater Corps aims to identify, support, and grow the arts community, one show and one person at a time.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Review: The Taming of the Shrew By Liza White

They’re all women, they’re all barefoot, and they all just want to have fun. How else would you rationalize inserting a blowup doll, a colorful Indian wedding, and a striptease to Madonna’s Girls Just Want to Have Fun in Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew?” The Queens Company, whose Shrew is now playing at Walker Space, is making no apologies for being female or for being raunchy and by no means should they have to.

Considering the fact that all of Shakespeare’s roles were originally performed by men, I was anxious to see what The Queens Company would make of an all female show. I was amazed at how quickly my “wow, she really looks like a man” thoughts vanished and the characters simply became characters.

On a simple stage, Rebecca Patterson directed a new version of this Man vs. Woman power play which left me wondering who was taming whom. There was joy expressed through the ample violence, similar, this reviewer imagines, to the playfulness found in light S & M. Patterson’s choice to have Bianca played by a blowup Little Sweety Doll was not only sexually suggestive but also reflects a feministic view about what men consider the perfect wife. A blowup doll is certainly obedient and maybe even sexually satisfying, but when it comes to conversation, the doll is the pits. And unfortunately for the performance, when Bianca had lines, her muffled voice booming from speakers backstage was as satisfying as running out of batteries for your vibrator.

But making great conversation were Carey Urban as the strong willed Kate and Samarra as a handsome Petruchio. When Shakespeare wasn’t providing them with witty back and forth their bodies were engaged in flirtatious combat. Urban packs a mean kick to the groin whilst ever remaining demure and poised. The couple mastered the stubbornness of the characters while layering in an adolescent longing for one another.

The ensemble of The Queens Company add comedy at ever turn. Natalie Lebert is hilarious as the Widow. Even as a woman playing a man playing a woman, her subtle comedy grounds the character. Also of note are Gisele Richardson as an endearing Baptista and Beverly Prentice as a dashing Hortensio. Almost all the members of the company play more than one role and, for the most part, do a seamless job of it.

If you’re feeling frisky and need to be tamed or if you’re tame and need to be frisked, don’t miss this performance.

WALKER SPACE: 46 Walker Street (between Broadway & Church Street)
November 5 – November 20, 2005 (Wed-Sat & Mon @ 7:30pm, Sun @ 3pm)
Tickets: $15 (Wednesdays are 2 for 1 nights). Call (212) 868-4444 or visit
Trains: 6, A, C, E, J, M, N, Q, R, W, Z to Canal St. or 1, 9 to Franklin St.

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