Review of CAST’s production of ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ in Ely Cathedral on Thursday 27th August 2015.

Cambridge American Stage Tour, established in 2000 under the patronage of none other than Dame Judi Dench,  is a group of talented actors, directors, designers and technicians from Cambridge University (UK) who band together to produce a play to take to schools and universities in America.

Under the directorship of Kennedy Bloomer, 9 cast members delivered Shakespeare’s ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ in Ely Cathedral on Thursday night, revelling in the frolics and trickery with tremendous enthusiasm and energy.

The familiar plot was ever present. Petruccio (played by Toby Marlow) decided it would be a worthwhile business proposition to marry Kate for her dowry.  He ranted and railed like a wild man shocking even the feral Katherina (Kate Reid) until she became a submissive and obedient wife as planned. As he was working towards this achievement, other suitors were freed to compete for the hand of her beautiful but cunning sister Bianca (Julia Kass).  In a bid to claim her affections the suitors adopted delightfully eccentric guises and invented wonderfully exotic schemes to satisfy the much tried father Baptista (Sarah Mercer) that one of them was worthy enough to gain Bianca’s hand in marriage.

Needless to say, everything seemed to go wrong, but as events propelled themselves towards the final scene, all was resolved and Petruccio and Kate won the day and were an example to them all. The speed and agility of the performers made it even more impressive when we realized most of the actors had three or so different roles to play.

There were some magnificent highlights: the determination of Petruccio, the facial expressions of Baptista, the camaraderie and ribaldry of the fellows, the hilarious ‘musician’ ‘tuning’ his instrument, the grotesque widow and her very reluctant partner, blokes tucking into a Take-away denying the poor starving Kate a single bite to eat: these were a few of the many memorable scenes in this highly entertaining production. Another amusing touch was the so realistic drunk who milled among the audience and pushed his way towards the stage to provide a novel way of announcing that it was the end of the interval.

The remaining remarkable members of CAST included: Will Bishop (playing Lucentio/Player/Servant), Aoife Kennan (Tranio/Curtis), Will Peck (Grumio/Bartholomew/Widow), Robbie Taylor Hunt (Horensio/Servant/Merchant) and Marco Young (Gremio).

This team should be a real hit in New York and Florida where it is next bound. The show returns to Cambridge in October and will be performed at the ADC Theatre from the 6th to the 10th of October.   To book seats: www and for more information about CAST contact:

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