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L.A. Beat

Taming of the Shrew opens in Galt Gardens

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The Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society premiered their summer production of Shakespeare’s comedy Taming of the Shrew, Thursday, July 6.


Emily Laidlaw and Lucas Kramps perform in Taming of the Shrew, which opened this week. Photo by Richard Amery

Their production of Taming of the Shrew, directed by Jesse Thibert, whom played Hamlet last summer, puts a slightly modern twist on the theme of gaslighting to control one’s wife.

They set it amid the countercultural turmoil of the free love ’60s.


Ben McCluskey and Maddie McKee perform in Taming of the Shrew, which opened this week. Photo by Richard Amery

It is supposed to be a contrast between the counter-culture  of youth and the more conservative adults but even Father  Baptista, played by Ginny  Little-Bergsma, is dressed like Sonny Bono in this show.


The story is about Father Baptista, who refuses to let his popular youngest daughter Bianca (Mataya Britton) be wooed until his eldest  daughter, the shrewish, headstrong, violent and angry Kate (Maddie McKee) be wed.


So the youth of Nanaimo (rather than Padua) convince Petruccio ( played by Shakespeare Performance Society veteran Ben McCluskey) to take Kate off their hands, so they are free to woo Bianca, posing as tutors.


 There is a lot of colour, some fun physical comedy and some intriguing choices made. Petruccio’s horse is a rail scooter and they have some fun switching out Italian cities with Canadian cities. It is hilarious that Winnipeg is at odds with  Nanaimo in this show, though it is only mentioned in passing.


Ben McCluskey and Maddie McKee have excellent chemistry together especially during the wooing scene. Maddie McKee projects well, shouting most of her lines and playing an excellent shrewish Kate.


Like in previous productions, the minor characters steal the show.

 It is always a joy to see Trevor Loman show his comedic side as he does as Hortensio.

 Emily Laidlaw, who played a more serious role of Hamlet’s mother in last year’s  production of Hamlet shows her comedic side as  Biondello in Taming of 

Trevor Loman and Mataya Britton perform in Taming of the Shrew, which opened this week. Photo by Richard Amery

the Shrew.


 Jess Nguyen has a fun smaller role as Petruccio’s tailor, and Jeff Graham is entertaining in everything he does, this time as one of Bianca’s suitor Gremio.


 Lucas  Kramps  excels as comic relief as Tranio, one of Biancas other suitors.


Taming of the Shrew is at the Empress theatre is at Legacy park , July 13 at 7 p.m. and in Fort Macleod on July 14  so they aren’t competing with Street Machine weekend, but they will be back in Galt Gardens, July 20 and July 27 and  Aug. 3,10, 17 and 18.


Ginny Little-Bergsma and Ben McCluskey in Taming of the Shrew. Photo by Richard Amery

They will also be performing at Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens, July 21, Aug 4 and 11 and at the Coutts arts Centre outsside of Nanton, July 16 at 2 p.m.

—  By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat editor

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