Posts Tagged ‘America’

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

August 29, 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:

review An Evening with Sara Paretsky

February 22, 2010

On TV, on the radio and moving from Topping’s charming bookstore in the High Street Ely to a larger venue – what is so special about Sara Paretsky that makes her so popular? There are SO many crime writers out there, why should she be any different?

It was not until I heard her speak at St Peter’s Church in Ely that it became obvious. Her wit, delight in irony and above all, her determination to root out and air the evils of her city Chicago, transfix your attention. You are left with a sense of admiration and awe. This woman is a formidable force and her writing compelling and instructive. 

Her latest book, Hardball, pulls no punches. The political corruption that Chicago boasts and past injustices that lie unpunished are presented directly in her story as her intrepid heroine, private investigator V I Warshawski , battles to find out the truth about a missing person. Prejudice, police torture and an intransigently corrupt society provide an almost impenetrable force for VI to overcome. You are compelled to empathize with her sense of injustice.    

When Sara worked voluntarily in Chicago in the summer of 1966 the city was one of the most segregated cities in America. African Americans were not permitted to rent or own houses in certain districts; they were banned from beaches and from certain jobs. Martin Luther King was asked to come and join the campaign for equality bringing with him the media that offered a certain amount of protection for the protesters.  Sara described how few people understand how violent it had been at that time. She had felt an urgent need to tell the story. This urgent need to explore depths of the corruption that few would dare touch makes her stand out as an inspirational person and stimulating author.

As a Jew she visited Germany and noticed the humility and shame felt by many of the Germans she met. Yet, in America, she senses little of this guilt about injustices of the past. It is no wonder her husband calls her a pit bull ready to take on anyone as long as they are four times her size.  Sara is indeed an indomitable force as a writer and campaigner for social morality. There are good reasons why her books published in over 30 countries are among the top best sellers.

The next author to feature at Toppings will be Ely writer Jim Kelly in St Mary’s Church on Thursday 4th March.