Here is the National Operatic and Dramatic Association review for Belper Musical Theatre’s recent production of Kiss Me, Kate, by Joyce Handbury.
Kiss Me Kate is a musical with music and lyrics by Cole Porter.
I must say it was definitely “Wunderbar”!
The story involves the production of a musical version of William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and the conflict on and off the stage between Fred Graham, the show’s director, producer, and star, and his leading lady, his ex-wife Lilli Vanessi.
A secondary romance concerns Lois Lane, the actress playing Bianca, and her gambler boyfriend, Bill, who runs foul of some gangsters. The demanding roles of Lilli and Katherine were superbly portrayed by Elizabeth Brookes.
Her impressive singing and acting skills were very much in evidence throughout and her rendition of I Hate Men was sung with great relish - brilliant! Equally skilled and assured in both singing and acting was Chris Grantham as Fred Graham and Petruchio.
He carried out this challenging role with great ‘theatrical’gusto. They were indeed a great match. Charlie Orme was provocatively sexy as the temptress Lois Lane, but I felt there was a lack of chemistry between her and boyfriend, Bill Calhoun, although well played by David Orange, it didn’t help to make their love story believable. Sarah Stone was splendid as Pattie, Fred’s dresser, especially in the exhausting number, Too Darn Hot.
Pete Bostock (Baptista/Harry), Richard Poole (Ralph), Stacy Hyndman (Hattie) and Phil Stanley (General Howell) gave excellent support in their respective roles and I must mention the execution of Tom, Dick or Harry by Charlie Orme, Mark Jennison, Andrew Buxton and David Orange which was first-rate.
Undoubtedly a highlight of the show was the brilliant comedy pairing of Ian Jennison and Heath Parkin as the two gangsters. The ‘long and short’ of it is, that they were just so right for these deadpan characters and their delivery of Brush Up Your Shakespeare was masterfully performed.
We were treated to some lovely dancing from specialist dancers Jess Hutton, Sharon Stringer, Megan Harman and Becky Dunning and Becky’s choreography, for the whole show, was expressively creative. The innovative in-house set was designed and built by Ian Jennison (loved the working fountain) the costumes were fabulous, there were just a few issues with the orchestra, but I must say it was definitely “Wunderbar”!