Kiss me Kate, a co-production by Northern Ireland Opera and the Lyric theatre is a joyful affair, lighting up the bleak stormy Belfast nights. It is a musical production full of fun, cheeky innuendos and a very talented cast.
As the opening notes of the twelve piece band, under Conor Mitchell’s moreish orchestrations hit your ear and the lighting fades on the retro TV set (opening staging), a glittering trio of holywood angels/starlets hit the stage and Walter Sutcliffe’s joyful, absurd and witty theatrical journey begins.
A play within a play with a mix of Shakespeare (Taming of the Shrew) and western themes this production actually reminded me of the U.K. tour of Curtains the musical which I’d seen only a few months earlier but it actually had more depth and glamour.
Norman Bowman expertly plays the actor/producer Fred Graham who is flirting with Lois Lane (Jayne Wisener) and his ex-wife Lilli Vanessi (Melli Stewart). There is an underlying #metoo commentary which can’t be ignored in 2020, an actress who thinks she will get top billing by sleeping with the producer and an actress being controlled by men (and societies views of this) but this Cole Porter original first hit the Broadway stage in 1948 and I’m glad to say times are changing.
However, the fabulous musical numbers will win over an unforgiving audience with Melli’s I hate men, Wisener’s cutesy Always true to you in my fashion and Matthew Cavan’s Too Darn Hot (where the actor got up close and personal with his audience) being my highlights of this production. Oh and of the course the comical stylings of Marty Maguire and Darren Franklin, their rendition of Brush up on Your Shakespeare had me rolling in the aisle.
Overall a fantastically fun production with show tunes which will got stuck in your head for weeks to come.
Kiss Me,Kate runs until Saturday 22nd Febuaray grab a ticket here: http://www.lyrictheatre.co.uk