‘Kiss Me Kate’: flawless dance and saucy innuendo

Cole Porter’s play within a play “Kiss Me Kate” brings to life everything about the theatre.

The opening, outside the theatre, melts seamlessly into life behind the stage and eventually the “play” itself.

It tells the story of a cast putting on “another show”, a musical version of Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew”. The lead role of shrewish Kate is played by Lilli Vanessi, a film star with a reputation for being difficult to work with. Opposite to her is the director, lead and her ex-husband, Fred Graham.

Fred is obsessed with Lois, who in the play is Bianca, and Lois in turn is in love with the actor who plays Lucentio, Bill Calhoun.

Porter plays tribute to Shakespeare with unrequited love and mistaken identity, in this case two gangster hoods that chase Fred for debts owed from the gambling table by Bill, who has signed his IOU with Fred’s name.

As in the ‘real’ play, the “Kiss Me Kate” leads once again fall in love and reconcile.
Flawless dance routines

This is a stage show in all its glory. Fantastic and amazingly synchronised choreography courtesy of Nick Winston means that everyone on stage is always in right place at the right time for dance performances, even sharing spaghetti strings or carrying pizza.

The costumes reflect the times in which Porter penned this, one of his last and most successful musicals, with men in blazers and tank tops, and girls in floating dresses.

Evoking what life was like on the real stage, the orchestra is part of the show too, and David Charles Abell conducts them through some wonderful pieces. Porter cleverly ensures that the musical elements of Shakespeare’s play evoke the Italian operatic style . The back stage elements of this story take on 1940s America with Latin beats and ragtime.

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