Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew is easily subject to criticism about its misogyny and therefore its relevance in contemporary society. Montague Basement’s production, however, is a fresh interpretation that revitalises its outdated predecessor, forefronting victims of domestic violence and transporting Shakespeare’s comedic play to a dramatic platform.
Staged initially on a blank stage with black curtains draped on the wings, director Caitlin West has set the play in the present day. Her direction intelligently embraces the new setting, enhancing the wit inherent in the text, while also dramatising and acknowledging its problems. Men are symbolically dressed in white to warn of the farcical image of purity, and women are immediately connected yet paradoxically distanced from them, as Bianca (Jane Watt) attempts to lure Lucentio (Tel Benjamin) from the second level of the stage. It is a foreshadowing of what is to come; that while relationships will be forged, the women in the play will have a markedly different experience to their male counterparts.