My one regret: I absolutely ADORE the movie with screen icon Liz Taylor and welsh great Richard Burton and it took me a while to get their images out of my head when watching this performance of Kiss me, Kate. Which is regretful, because the show is amazing!
Costumes and set props are brilliant, the colors dazzling, flashy to the point of being garish – which is a good thing, believe me! – and the actors seem to have a blast while on stage which immediately transfers to the audience. An audience which is actually sometimes involved in the show – for instance when Kate picks a man in the first couple of rows to sing all his weaknesses to him (I hate men). Absolutely hilarious, maybe a little less for the poor chap who’s being berated by her, but still all in good fun.
Lilli Vanessi (Monique Lund) and Fred Graham (Juan Chioran) share enough sparks to make their constant battles and their deep love for each other believable and the General represents enough of a military man to not fall just into the category of stereotypical dumb soldiery.
There are also the two Muscles who are hired to collect the “little debt” from Bill Calhoun – their parts were initially thought as small one offs, but evolved while Sam and Bella Spewack wrote the play until they now have the brilliant Brush up your Shakespeare as a signature number that they milk for all it’s worth.
But the true scene stealers are without a doubt Bill Calhoun (the incredibly good looking and talented Mike Jackson – hey, I’ve always been a sucker for good looking men with talent) and his mistress Lois Lane (Chilina Kennedy, who obviously enjoys the part of the very blonde tart she is supposed to be). Whenever those two are on stage, there’s sparks everywhere, and the scenes seem to work with a weightless precision that is admirable. I truly adore their interaction with each other and the rest of the cast – the flirt scene Lois has with the General is absolutely brilliant.
I was not that enchanted with Monique Lund, I’m afraid – she has a great voice with a full range but I didn’t like the rather soft Wunderbar. It was not until she delved into her comic side more (with I hate men) that I really started enjoying her singing.
All in all I really had a great afternoon at the theatre with a fun show and actors who seemed to enjoy themselves too (something that was sadly missing from King of Thieves, by the way) that brought the audience to their feet in a standing ovation at the end.