THEATRE / To love, honour and dismay: Jeffrey Wainwright on The Taming of the Shrew at West Yorkshire Playhouse
Saturday 24 April 1993
'Why does the world report that Kate doth limp?' exclaims Petruchio at their first meeting. Until this moment, that McAuliffe has given Kate a club-foot seems superfluous. But now, as Petruchio prattles on about how 'straight and slender' she is, we see in McAuliffe's face the accumulated pain of her endurance in a world so fixated upon an ideal of female beauty that she - unlike her delectable sister - has never been able to match. We see too the beginnings of interest in Petruchio, with the shock that he has the effrontery to refer directly to her disability and the recognition that here is a man who does not see her as the world does.
To get over the crudity of the subsequent taming, Petruchio plays up as a blithe Bohemian; even more stupendously outrageous than usual, he arrives for the wedding on stilts. His house, which resembles Jackson Pollock's studio, provides further evidence that Petruchio's wildness is the product of artistic temperament.
As he listens at the end to Kate's homily on wifely duty he has more the aspect of an attentive penitent than a triumphant chauvinist. McAuliffe's handling of this speech is marvellous: moving, touched with irony, suffused with knowingness, it convinces us, for the moment at least, that peace has come through mutual respect and love.
I wish that the absorbing psychological realism and superb central performances were given a comparably plausible setting. The basic circumstance in which the play is performed is a ship in port; this, and the subsequent extravagant variety of background and costume, is diverting and skilfully managed but adds surprisingly little.
Until 15 May; 0532-451295
Arts & Ents blogs
Never before seen personal accounts of Great War offer vivid picture of life at the Front
Neil Patrick Harris talks shooting 'robotic' Gone Girl sex scene with Rosamund Pike
Boy George: Bad karma
PonoMusic: Neil Young reaches Kickstarter target to fund new music player within a day
Disney's Frozen is 'very evil' gay propaganda, says Christian pastor
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
The quiet diplomat: Catherine Ashton - recognised and admired in all the world’s troubled countries, yet ridiculed at home
- 1 Hells of residence: Inside Macedonia's horrifying student accommodation - where the walls are green and the food is black
- 2 Michael Schumacher 'experience' gives F1 legend chance to 'show his character', says Lewis Hamilton
- 3 Girl found in the Amazon rainforest with neighbour Grover Morales after going missing for 7 months
- 4 Rampaging elephant smashes up house but then 'saves crying baby trapped under debris'
- 5 Disney's Frozen is 'very evil' gay propaganda, says Christian pastor