| go to entry page | | go to other departments |



Paulanne Simmons

"Ruff Love or What You Will"


"Ruff Love or What You Will"
Presented by Kings County Shakespeare Company
Directed by Deborah Wright Houston
The Great Room at South Oxford Space
138 South Oxford Street, Brooklyn
Closed March 19, 2007
Reviewed by Paulanne Simmons March 19, 2007

Kings County Shakespeare Company's ''Taming of The Shrew,'' retitled ''Ruff Love,'' dilutes the anti-feminist message by turning Baptista, the girls' father, into the girls mother (ably played by Mary Lou Kylis), but otherwise leaving Shakespeare's comedy for the most part intact.

Rachel Alt (as Kate), Charlie Coniglio (as Petruchio).

There are no bells and whistles here, but with little else besides a wood-paneled stage and elegant Elizabethan attire, director Deborah Wright Houston creates the intimate atmosphere of a luxurious residence in Padua.

Charlie Coniglio is the lusty lover, Petruchio, who meets his match in the earthy and exuberant Katherine (the saucy Rachel Alt). Cotton Wright plays Bianca as a smug and sly coquette who thoroughly enjoys her privileged position in the family. The contrast between the two young girls makes perfectly clear the limited choices available to women at that time and how noble is Katherine's revolt.

Houston cleverly stages a number of scenes behind closed doors, suggesting what's going on by the noise and the objects thrown onstage. She also compensates for the small stage by using the entire theater space. In this way she engages the audience and challenges everyone to use imagination to fill in the gaps.

But what really makes this production work is the obvious attraction Kate has for Petruchio. When she submits to him it is more out of love than defeat. Nevertheless even though Kate says, ''Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper'' at the end of the play, one suspects Petruchio's life with his wife will be pleasant, but it probably won't be peaceful.

At the end of this season, Houston will be retiring as artistic director of Kings County Shakespeare. She is certainly leaving in a theatrical blaze of glory.


| lobby | search | home | cue-to-cue | discounts | welcome | film | dance | reviews |
| museums | NYTW mail | recordings | coupons | publications | classified |