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Thomas J. Wright
This ACT version of "Taming of the Shrew" is very different from most of the overproduced movies made from Shakespeare plays--in this stage production, there are no huge set pieces or elaborate props. It's reduced to actors having fun with rich, descriptive language.
The trouble with a number of movies made from Shakespeare plays--say, Kenneth Branagh's schizoid, interminable "Hamlet" or Baz Luhrman's MTV-ized version of "Romeo and Juliet"--is that, being movies, they try to make the material more visual. They show, rather than tell, what is going on. As a result, Shakespeare's powerful descriptive passages are reduced, cut, or worse, blazed through as quickly as possible and shoved aside to make room for more eye candy.
There's no such difficulty here. This "Shrew" is almost performed on a bare stage, in commedia dell'arte style, with minimal accoutrements and some sound effects for laughs. Everything depends on Shakespeare's rich, inventive language, and the production is the better for it.
For a more in-depth review of this production, please visit http://www.piratereview.com/reviews/33.asp
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