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(Posted 9:30 p.m., May 3)

Young Players tackle Shakespeare’s ‘Shrew’
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Katharine, played by Evelyne O’Rourke, gets carried off by her new husband, Petruchio, played by Brendon Miller, during the OYP production of ‘The Taming of the Shrew’. Fred Sherwin/Photo

It’s been several years since various people started sanitizing and satirizing a whole list of popular nursery rhymes and fairy tales by producing politically correct versions of the original text. One can only assume that it is only a matter of time before someone else starts tackling Shakespeare whose plays rate well down on the scale of political correctness.

Taking the “Taming of the Shrew”, for instance. A play about a man who forces his untamed wife to be obedient through a whole series of deprivations and mind games.

Feminists have long derided “The Shrew” for portraying women as subservient to their male partners.

Besides lacking a sense of humour, the play’s critics also lack a sense of sarcasm because the underlying message of the play is that it is the man who is usually tamed by marriage and not the woman, but I digress.

The Orleans Young Players’ Shakespeare Class put it’s own unique twist on “The Shrew” during a pair of performances Sunday and Monday night at the Orleans Theatre with entertaining results.

The two main characters in the play are Katharine, the headstrong daughter of Senora Baptista, and Petruchio, a wealthy merchant, bent on taming her and claiming her substantial dowry.

In a side plot, three other characters try to woo Katharine’s younger and more amiable sister Bianca. In the end, she chooses to marry Lucentio, the wealthiest man in Pisa.

Among the performances Sameer Ratti was superb as the elderly Gremio and Kelsae Harding did a great job as Lucentio’s servant Tranio, but top marks go to Brandon Miller as Petruchio and Evelyne O’Rourke who played Katharine.

The two worked brilliantly together. Miller was absolutely hilarious and whoever came up with that mouse get up for the wedding scene should receive a Tony Award for costume design.

As for O’Rourke, she should receive an award for putting herself through the physical abuse she endured during not one, but two performances.

The rest of the cast included Andreas Hihenstein as Lucentio; Emelie Perron-Clow as Senora Baptista; Tom Chester as Hortensio; Tamsin Andrews as Bianca; Darci Bloom Bertrand as Grumio; Jessica Lange in a variety of roles; and Mati Contal, Laurence DaNova, Petra Hohenstein, Tyler Smith, Cristina Wood and Brianna Bettencourt as Petruchio’s servants.

“The Taming of the Shrew” kicks off OYP’s Spring Showcase which continues over the next six weeks with nearly 20 performances.

Next up is “Apple Butter and Geography Match” on Saturday, Jan. 87followed by “Jingle By Us” and “Farmer Dell’s Alphabet” on Saturday, March 4 . All the performances will be held at the Orleans Theatre at 7 p.m. For a complete list of the performances visit www.oyplayers.on.ca and click on Productions.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)


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