Bravi Tutti

Listed on July 23, 2014 in Blogs!

Last night we enjoyed a really accomplished performance of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. The company were the Taunton Thespians (founded in 1927) and it was done open air on the back lawn with the House as the backdrop to the action. What distinguished the production were some very strong performances, a simple set and an almost faultless delivery of the text. The cast and crew had worked with the RSC as part of their Open Stages scheme and the confidence this gave the company was much in evidence. The play was being taken around various venues in Somerset each one contributing its own ambiance and challenge. The producer, Martin Jervon, announced that Dillington was their favourite in part because the cast had proper changing facilities and the playing area was the flattest!

The play is very much of its time describing the plight of how men controlled their women. How father’s gave away daughters and how marriages were in many ways business transactions brokered between the parties concerned. The words ‘Kiss me Kate’ are said with recognition to modern audiences. Originally, the play would have been performed by men for a predominantly male audience. The parts of the younger women played by teenage boys – at least until the Restoration. Who knows how the words ‘Kiss me Kate’ would have been performed – with cheers one suspects.

The other cultural offering on show last week was Somerset Opera’s amazing production of Verdi’s Macbeth. This was put on with a small professional orchestra and some young soloists. The chorus, small parts and crew were locals. This too was astonishingly good and demonstrated ambition and a real commitment to high standards. Bravo to all.