Kiss Me Kate, WNO

 

I am a woman who is rarely lost for words. I have no idea where to begin on this one.

So, let’s go with my first thoughts:

I witnessed an opera audience splutter and stutter into laughter and whoops of delight as a show became progressively funnier and livelier and more and more colourful.

My dear, this isn’t opera… it’s, um, a musical.

Shock horror! The Welsh National Opera does musical all right. It’s borderline panto.

It is singing, talking, dancing, ballet, tap – it is Baltimore, it is Shakespeare, it is Cole Porter.

We rush from dusty backstage to technicolour onstage with a rapacious love for the piece which infects everyone in the building.

There is even a stuffed mule.

Not funny, dear.

Oh it is. It is carry me out of here laughingly funny! It is a showcase for this multi- talented cast and how much they seem to enjoy their moments in the spotlight. Revelling in the bawdiness, the burlesque and the slapstick.

Asses seem to have quite a prominent role, one way and another.

It reminds me at times of The Good Old Days, vaudeville at its finest, people laughing at themselves in the story, in the audience. I fancy we should all be wearing doublets and bodices. A round of the Old Bull and Bush at the end wouldn’t go amiss, such is the atmosphere.

Well, I wasn’t expecting that!

Kate sings the songs of the wild and sexy and shrewish, Petruchio was an operatic twinkly eyed pirate, the gunmen do one of the best duets since Michael Ball and Les Dennis in Hairspray; and Bianca and Lucentio are utterly joyous in both song and dance.

It is obscenely good entertainment.

We come out to Christmas trees and misty cold, buzzing with that warm fuzzy feeling you get from a performance well done.

But this is Cardiff, a city, like many others, with a dark underbelly. There, under the lit arches of the Wales Millennium Centre, is a man completing a broadsheet crossword. I give him the change I find in the bottom of my bag – it is a paltry amount but it is the only cash I have. I apologise for my meanness. He smiles and calls me back.

Look at this, pretty lady.

My friend and I turn back and he shows us a magic trick with a 20p coin and wishes us a Merry Christmas.

 

 

 

 

Event:              Kiss Me Kate

 

Seen:               06 Dec, 2016

Reviewer:        Helen Joy for 3rd Act Critics

Running:          06 Dec – 10 December 2016

Cost :               Tickets: £7 – £43

Running time: Approximately 2 hour 50 minutes with one interval

 

Links:               https://www.wmc.org.uk/Productions/2016-2017/DonaldGordonTheatre/KissMeKateDec16/

 

5 stars – spectacular

 

A Welsh National Opera production, sung in English

Conductor                              James Holmes
Director                                  Jo Davies
Set & Costume Designer       Colin Richmond
Lighting Designer                   Ben Cracknell
Choreographer                      Will Tuckett

Fred Graham / Petruchio      Quirijn de Lang
Lilli Vanessi / Katherine        Jeni Bern
1st Gunman                            Joseph Shovelton
2nd Gunman                          John Savourin

 

Music and Lyrics                      Cole Porter
Book                                        Bella and Samuel Spewack
Critical Edition                          David Charles Abell and Seann Alderking.

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