Friday, March 31, 2006

The Taming of the Shrew - Sacramento Theater Company

All's well that ends well and this production certainly ends, exists and begins extremely well! This is what happens when seventeenth century Elizabethan theater meets the Wild West and what a meeting it is! A lasso for thee and a six-shooter for thou is the general feeling of this production. The sweet Bianca is held hostage by her father from all wooers. The ransom: marry his eldest daughter, Katherina the Horrible. Though it seems that no one will wed her and, thus, release the fair Bianca from her father's hold, Petruchio comes in on his white horse to woo and wed her. With her out of the way, the battle for Bianca will resume and only time can tell the outcome.

The set is rather elaborate in its simplicity. A hardwood floor with some wood-grain elevations in the back. Signs marking which house is where and all set against the sunset horizon. The lighting is impeccable but also simple. Subtle fades and exaggerations give the audience the feeling of emotion without the audience really realizing that the lighting has changed. The sound cues are the most impressive technical aspect of this production. The Wild West soundtrack is appropriate and hilarious.

Matt K. Miller, as Petruchio, is a performer to be envied by all aspiring actors. His comic timing and stage presence cannot be discounted. His servant, Tranio - played by Michael Stevenson - is hilarious as well. This dynamic duo is an unstoppable force of comedy. Add to the equation the Shrew, Katherina, played by Saffron Henke, and the cast could not be stronger. Her jabs with fists and wit are perfectly timed in every instance.

With all things considered, this production is one of the best I've seen this year. The strength of the cast and the precision of all technical aspects create an absolutely fantastic show!

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