Saturday, 14 May 2011

Theatre review: The Taming of the Shrew at The Zoo

Seems an odd combination, doesn't it? Not quite as odd as seeing a play entitled 'Shit' at the Musgrave Park toilet block. Both 'Shit' and 'Taming of the Shrew' were part of the Anywhere Theatre Festival which ran from 5 – 14 May in locations all over Brisbane. The aim of the Anywhere Theatre Festival concept is to take theatre out of the 'elitism' of the theatre space into public spaces and so reconnect with audiences and some of the original earthiness of theatre.

South-East Queensland theatre companies performed anywhere except in theatre spaces – houses, parks, libraries, restaurants in this very fun and dynamic theatre concept.

Chuck and I saw 'Taming of the Shrew' by Soapbox Theatre Productions at The Zoo after Japanese BBQ. It was a really fun night. They used the whole space really well and interacted with the audience. They made a lot of thrusting / bawdy jokes which I think as so necessary in Shakespeare. He's thought of as rather high and hoity-toity now but of course he was quite low comedy in his time.

Despite the gags – which were pretty funny - I'm not so keen on the messages / comedy in The Taming of the Shrew. The subjugation of women might have been hilarious to Shakespeare's audience as mocking the status-quo but both Chuck and I weren't really laughing by the end. Nothing to do with Soapbox's performance, rather the play itself.

Thinking about it, The Zoo was a rather perfect venue for bawdy Shakespeare. Very reminiscent of 'The Globe' experience. Most of us were standing , there was a three piece band providing the accompaniment and of course, the audience could drink through the whole performance.

The only part of the show I didn't like was the length. Advertised as ending at 9:30, the show didn't finish until 10:15. So that's not late but it's a long time standing up and we both had colds and were desperately keen to go home.

So the Festival is over and no one reading this can go to any of the shows. But keep an eye out for it next year – it's really very fun to experience theatre outside of QPAC and the Powerhouse.

Read the official review on the Anywhere Theatre Festival website.

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