Jun. 27, 2012 - Issue #871: Edmonton 2012
Kiss Me, Kate
(7:30 pm, 2 pm Saturday matinee)
Directed by Shelley Tookey
MacEwan Centre for the Arts,
$22.50 – $27.50
Matters of the heart are never easy territory to navigate, as seen in the Cole Porter classic, Kiss Me, Kate, a feisty, witty musical romantic-comedy.
The Edmonton production is brought to life by ELOPE Musical Theatre, a local theatre mainstay made up of performers from all walks of life who volunteer their time to make the productions possible.
Kiss Me, Kate is essentially a play-within-a-play which follows a cast as they perform Shakespeare's The Taming of The Shrew. Offstage antics between the actors heighten and spill onstage into the second production as blowhard director Fred Graham (Gary Carter) who doubles as Petruchio and his ex-wife, Lilli Vanessi (Elizabeth Marsh), who also plays Katharine, or Kate, realize their feelings for one another remain, just before opening night. However, Graham lands himself in hot water when a flower delivery to his onstage leading lady Lois Lane (Kathleen Sera), who plays Bianca, is sent to Lilli. Lane's boyfriend Bill Calhouin (Harley Morison), who plays Lucentio, furthers the complicated situation onstage by getting himself mixed up with a pair of gangsters and signing an IOU in Graham's name.
The alternating backdrops of the onstage performance and offstage antics are seamlessly transitioned and avoid any potential confusion with accompanying set and costume changes. The energetic musical numbers, which are set to well-executed choreography, are complimented by a live orchestra, which adds an extra element that a soundtrack cannot.
The cast is bursting with energy and Marsh and Carter create a charged dynamic between their characters capped off with entertaining, innuendo-charged banter. The pair rush through a roller coaster of emotions with ease and even in the midst of a scuffle that involves a good paddling, they still keep a comedic spirit intact. Marsh is particularly entertaining as Lilli/Katharine. Where Lilli is the elegant movie star, Katharine is a woman so brash and fiery-tempered that no man desires to marry her, which Marsh pulls off effortlessly. Her ranting "I Hate Men" musical number not only shows off some truly amazing vocal pipes, but the wrath of a woman on a rampage.
Marsh's partner-in-crime Carter is the perfect compliment to her character. His stubbornness and attitude are the only thing that can tame her wild streak and his musical numbers are equally entertaining in both his vocal abilities and their subject matter, which ranges from his former womanizing ways to sentimental reminiscing of happy times with Lilli. vueweekly.com comments: powered by Disqus
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