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It is a great pleasure to review something you liked twenty years ago to find that it is actually better than you remembered it. Such is the case with this production of "Taming of the Shrew"
This is not only by far the most lively and good-natured version of the play I have ever seen on stage or film, but it also seems to be directed in accord with the commedia dell'arte tradition that has surely been very much on Shakespeare's mind when he wrote the play. There is a multitude of 'in-your-face' gags (the audience is never lured into the deceptive ruses of naturalistic theater, but are constantly made aware of their own presence) and scores of Italian 'lazzi' - stunts of every kind. We have a remarkably acrobatic duo in Kate (Fredi Olster) and Petrucchio (marc Singer), and their first scene together - where every piece of Shakespearean lewdness is brought out to us with a vengeance - is rewarded by a full minute of accolades from the delighted, live audience before which the production was filmed in 1976.
Of all in the cast I only knew Marc Singer, and remembered him only from a sci-fi series ("V"?) and a Harold Robbins series (Park Avenue 79?), but this is truly his claim to fame.
If you never see another Shakespeare play in your life, be sure to catch this one. After 25 years of searching in vain, it was finally brought to me by the miraculous combination of the internet and my visa card. Brave new world, indeed!
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