Shrewd Move

A romantic version of Shakespeare's play works in an unusual setting.

On the positive side, the setting emphasizes the playful aspects of the text. And it provides funny little surprises -- like the actors' moving silhouettes on a large movie screen -- to help us through the tedious parts. The costumes, by Don Mangone, are lots of fun. Sarah Fallon's capris add a whole new dimension to our concept of Kate -- though the costume she wears after her transformation, while witty and visually appealing, is not particularly flattering. Mangone does beautifully by Lucentio and Bianca. What a charming couple they make, strolling hand in hand across the stage, he in his ice-cream suit, she in a wide skirt and gracefully curving hat. The music, too, is cleverly chosen. It must have been tempting to throw a zillion '50s hits into the pot, but sound designer Kevin Dunayer has stayed with a few well-chosen pieces. The setting doesn't add much to our overall understanding of the play, but it does have some relevance. In '50s America, women were indeed expected to be subordinate to men, though social pressure and media images, rather than ducking stools, were the means of enforcement.

Emily Hagburg and Shaun Flaherty in Shrew.
Emily Hagburg and Shaun Flaherty in Shrew.

Details

Presented by the Colorado Shakespeare Festival
Through August 23
303-492-0554, www.coloradoshakes.org
Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre, University of Colorado, Boulder

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There are amateurish moments in this production and elements that seem insufficiently thought through, but overall, it is a gentle-hearted, original and entertaining version of the play.

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