REVIEW: Weston Operatic Society’s Kiss Me, Kate – a stunningly good performance

PUBLISHED: 14:04 05 April 2018 | UPDATED: 14:13 05 April 2018

The leading actors in Kiss Me, Kate.

The leading actors in Kiss Me, Kate.

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An energetic performance of Kiss Me, Kate really was ‘too darn hot’ when the sizzling show was presented by the Weston-super-Mare Operatic Society at The Playhouse last night (Wednesday).

The show is a real battle of the sexes, and is based on William Shakespeare’s The Taming Of The Shrew – it even includes quite a few of the Bard’s lines.

The original musical hit Broadway in 1948, and the operatic society performed its own version in Weston exactly 50 years ago this month.

Maureen Wycherley and Dylan Cheasley were outstanding in the lead roles. They commanded the stage, and their voices were strong and clear. Wycherley, in particular, showed off her full range in the hilarious song I Hate Men. Somehow she can even make a scream sound tuneful.

They were supported by a cast filled with talent. The singing was spot-on, by every member. There were a few microphone mishaps, but this can be put down to opening night technical issues. The dancing was often spectacular, and used to great effect.

A routine by Richard Smith, Rob Tilke and Conner Vickery as they tried to impress the woman of their dreams was filled with humour and style.

What was most impressive is how well the cast could swap between the script and the Shakespeare, not an easy balance when the style is so different.

Highlights for anyone watching will include Andrew D Heaven and Ashley Brown’s rendition of Brush Up Your Shakespeare, and their humorous portrayal of the two thugs throughout. Their accents were astonishingly good.

It’s Too Darn Hot was also sung brilliantly alongside another great routine by choreographer Emma Duffill.

All of it is enhanced by the presence of an immaculate live orchestra.

Kiss Me, Kate is showing its age somewhat – there are moments we know would never make it past our filters for equality and sexism nowadays. But that does not stop the show from being a roaring good time, and the cast is not to blame for those small moments which were fine in the 1950s, but not quite so okay all these years later.

Ultimately though, it is funny, brilliantly performed, the singing is outstanding, and you will leave tapping your feet and pledging to Brush Up Your Shakespeare.

Kiss Me, Kate is still showing at The Playhouse.

Shows are tonight (Thursday), tomorrow and Saturday at 7.30pm, with a 2.30pm matinee on Saturday.

Tickets, priced £17.50, are available from www.theplayhouse.co.uk or on 01934 645544

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