Christopher Sly – too often absent altogether in modern productions of the Shrew – is a very forceful presence at the start of Toby Frow’s bold production for the Globe.
Crucially, he links the 21st century crowd of groundlings to the period action of the play, and once he’s convinced he’s a lord, he joins them for the first few scenes, though for reasons amply apparent as the drama unfolds, he does not make a return visit at the end.
The main event is traditional in approach, fresh and fast-paced, with some memorable performances.
In her Globe début, Samantha Spiro makes a compact but frighteningly feisty Kate. She’s perhaps best known for being Barbara Windsor [whose shade is not entirely absent here], but she makes a superb shrew, even if her change of heart, beautifully delivered, is not especially convincing.
Her Petruchio is an amazing tour de force from Simon Paisley Day.
Strength, stillness and silliness combine in a very watchable turn; his wedding apparel has to be seen to be believed.
Among many other joys, Pierce Quigley’s grumpy Grumio, wearily following his master around with a bucket and a pair of coconut shells. Original practices indeed.