Reviewed by Paula Citron
The Stratford production of Cole Porter’s 1948 megahit Kiss Me Kate is a bit of a bore because it is “over-directed”. There is so much stage business going on that the show feels bloated. What could be great short moments are extended into very long uninteresting moments.
Juan Chioran was born to play Fred Graham, but Monique Lund’s Lilli Vanessi is lost in shtick. Chilina Kennedy’s Lois Lane has been turned into a screamer, while Mike Jackson is a lumbering Bill Calhoun. Kristian Truelsen turns the General’s “From This Moment On” into just the facts. Thankfully, Steve Ross and Cliff Saunders as the gangsters are up to speed, and the show looks good courtesy designer David Farley.
Cole Porter’s lyrics are truly clever and his melodies are unforgettable. Sam and Bella Spewack’s dialogue has great lines. Director John Doyle should have relied more on the show itself to carry the day.
Kiss Me Kate continues at the Festival Theatre until Oct. 30.
Kiss Me Kate
Stratford Shakespeare Festival
Music and lyrics by Cole Porter
Book by Sam and Bella Spewack
Directed by John Doyle
Starring Juan Chioran, Monique Lund, Chilina Kennedy, Mike Jackson, Steve Ross, Cliff Saunders and Kristian Truelsen
Theatre, Apr. 10 to Oct. 30, 2010