WITHAM Amateur Operatic Society presented a lively, colourful musical performance of Cole Porter’s Kiss Me Kate last week at the Public Hall. Full of tuneful numbers the cast made the most of the opportunities to develop their characters.
Stewart Adkins played the leading role with panache, especially when singing Where is the life that late I led. Pat Mcleod as the leading lady really pushed her personality over the footlights. It was a pity though that she was not able to show the softer side of her singing because of the volume of the orchestra led by Brian Brown. Geoff Coverdale showed his experience dealing with Batista and Harry Trevor’s characters.
This is a play within a play based on a modern touring company who are performing The Taming of the Shrew. The sub-plot gave Kathryn Adkins the opportunity to present a young vital and tuneful performance opposite the young Tim Clarke.
The many scene changes went very smoothly and producer Edwina McKay controlled the large chorus well. Michael Dunion and Peter McKay were the star turns of the evening. As modern gangsters who crossed into Shakespearean characters they brought the house down with Brush up your Shakespeare and epitomised the vitality of this excellent show.
KISS Me Kate lifted off to a cracking pace from the first number – Another Op'nin‘, Another Show.
Pat Mcleod as Kate (and Lilli) gave the kind of fiery performance essential to the credibility of the plot that here is a beautiful woman with the kind of violent temper that makes her unmateable.
But Petruchio, played with panache and bravura by Stewart Adkins, is the man determined to take up this challenge. Chauvmism reigns supreme - ‘owning‘ women, subduing the fiery Kate (by spanking and starvation) and female sub-servience - this is a musical to delight MCPs the world over. Feminists have been cringing since the Bard first wrote the Taming of the Shrew, the play from which Cole Porter based this raunchy musical adaptation.
Peter McKay and Michael Dunion made hilarious gangsters and strong performances were put in by Geoff Coverdale. Kathryn Adkins and Tim Clarke. There were no weak links and the chorus produced a hard-hitting sound under the strong control of musical director Brian Brown.
The dancing was delightful flowing in and out of the main action effortlessly. Edwina McKay motivated the cast to give of their best and there were some excellent production details including the carnival entrance through the audience which heightened the rapport between cast and audience.