Shrew-d move for all-female version of Shakespeare play

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There’s a double bill of one of Shakespeare’s most controversial plays on offer in the next few days, courtesy of the Globe Theatre.

The acclaimed theatre on London’s South Bank is touring an all-female version of The Taming of the Shrew, which comes to Buxton this weekend.

Last year’s Globe production of the same play is being screened on Sunday at the Showroom Cinema in Sheffield.

The Globe on Screen version of The Taming of the Shrew on Sunday (August 4) at 2pm stars Samantha Spiro as Katherina and Simon Paisley Day as Petruchio.

Samantha is well known for playing Barbara Windsor in a TV play, Cor, Blimey!, about the EastEnders actress’s time in Carry On films. She also appeared as DI Vivien Friend in the spin-off from The Bill, MIT: Murder Investigation Team. Simon played Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon in the ITV series Titanic shown last year.

In Buxton, a small troupe of actors will perform on a traditional booth stage, inspired by Elizabethan paintings and etchings, at the glorious Pavilion Gardens this Saturday and Sunday at 6pm.

A Globe spokeswoman said: “This is a rare opportunity to experience the freshness and simplicity of the theatre tour as it was in Shakespeare’s day.”

Shakespeare’s outrageous comedy is a real battle of the sexes, telling the story of two wealthy sisters in the Italian city of Padua who are being married off by their father.

Younger sister Bianca is happy to pick from one of her suitors but her dad insists that the ‘shrew’, Katharina, must be wed first.

The swaggering adventurer, Petruchio, is happy to take on the task of taming the ungovernable Katharina in return for money from two of Bianca’s admirers.

Flirtation, trickery and a good dash of Shakespearean wit is played out before the shrew seemingly chooses to become a dutiful wife.

The transformation of Katharina into complete subservience, after some pretty brutal treatment at the hands of her new husband, has long been the subject of controversy.

The Taming of the Shrew will be performed with an all-female cast, as it was in the play’s inaugural performance at the Globe in 2003.

Kate Lamb takes on the role of Katherina while Leah Whitaker plays Petruchio. The play will be directed by Joe Murphy, who is also the artistic director of Nabokov, an acclaimed new writing company.

The Taming of The Shrew is being performed at 16 dramatic venues in the UK, Europe and Asia including the beautiful Bodleian Library Quad in Oxford and the spectacular Minack Theatre in Cornwall. It concludes with four nights in Hong Kong and ten nights in Singapore – the first foray into Asia for a Globe theatre tour. For the Buxton shows, call the Buxton Opera House on 0845 1272190 or go to buxtonoperahouse.org.uk. The Showroom box office is online at www.showroomworkstation.org.uk or call 0114 275 7727.

n There’s more outdoor Shakespeare at the Sheffield Botanical Gardens tomorrow, Friday, when The Pantaloons present A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The Pantaloons are also back next Thursday, August 8, with their version of Sherlock Holmes.

They promise a “delightfully inventive and hilarious show for all ages featuring live music, audience interaction and more mystery than you can shake a magnifying glass at. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it!”

The Pantaloons say their performances will continue in all weather except a full-blown tempest. Bring a picnic and something to sit on. Both show are suitable for all ages.

Tickets: call 0114 2496000 or go to www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk