The Taming of the Shrew (Delacorte)
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The Taming of the Shrew (Delacorte)
78

The Taming of the Shrew (Delacorte) NYC Reviews and Tickets

78%
(188 Reviews)
Positive
83%
Mixed
12%
Negative
5%
Members say
Clever, Great acting, Entertaining, Funny, Ambitious

About the Show

As part of its free Shakespeare in the Park lineup, The Public Theater presents the Bard's zany comedy of the sexes with an all-female cast. Starring Tony winner Janet McTeer and directed by Phyllida Lloyd.

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Member Reviews (188)

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74
Director lloyd gets "a" for effort in satirizing shrew's extreme misogyny

See it if /since circus-like atmosphere/props/broad vaudevillian gestures and breaking fourth wall enhance comedy

Don't see it if /though satire of misogyny (beauty pageant frame tale, all-female cast) provocative, production not magical like Shakespeare's best comedies

82
Entertaining, Great acting, Refreshing, Quirky, Dated

See it if you're interested in an original, unexpected staging of a stale Shakespearean work.

Don't see it if you're a feminist. Despite the all-female cast & director and the attempt to "take back" the story, the misogynistic themes are off-putting

Critic Reviews (42)

The New York Times
June 13th, 2016

“Ms. Lloyd’s streamlined ‘Shrew’ manages to tell Shakespeare’s original tale with briskness and clarity. And without disrupting its governing tone of a carnival-cum-political-rally, it sheds a bright light on patterns of language and behavior in the play...Ms. McTeer here gives us a Petruchio who is both a brazen caricature and an unnerving psychological study...Ms. Jumbo finds the natural woman in Katherina.”
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Time Out New York
June 14th, 2016

"One interesting effect of casting all women (and what women—the cast is packed with talented pros and newbies) is the partial suspension of unease over seeing females objectified, monetized and trained like animals. It lets the comedy do its work, and a lusty, charismatic actor like McTeer can swagger about like the rock star she is...The overall effect is a 'Shrew' that is subversive, sexy and, most of all, funny. Genuinely funny."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
June 13th, 2016

"The frame that Phyllida Lloyd has devised for' Shrew' is neither satisfying as a workaround nor coherent in itself. It’s just kitsch, randomly applied and then run into the ground…Lloyd does nothing with the gender reversal except milk it for hike-up-your-trousers laughs. When the pageant frame returns very briefly and chaotically at the end, you feel cheated because it hasn’t achieved a thing…Only the great Janet McTeer gets around the conceit to some actual interpretive acting."
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The Hollywood Reporter
June 13th, 2016

"Only intermittent sparks in this knockabout feminist burlesque...McTeer and Jumbo's casting is this production's chief reward...Some audiences no doubt will get a kick out of the staging, given the innately subversive fun of watching women make a mockery of a society of men...It’s impossible to overlook the fact that this unrelentingly blunt comedy just isn't very funny...The performers appear to be having way more fun than the audience.”
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Variety
June 13th, 2016

“Is this production gorgeously giddy—or just goofy?...Jumbo has plenty of spirit as Kate, and some of the comic fools are funny, but McTeer steals the show with her deliciously camp treatment of Petruchio...A hint of roughness about Petruchio’s 'taming' of his bride lends a soupcon of sado-masochism to McTeer’s bad boy impersonation. But it’s a theme that fails to work its way into the production style, which is all over the map."
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The Wall Street Journal
June 14th, 2016

"It’s not very funny. Boisterous and good-humored, yes, but 'The Taming of the Shrew' is a comedy or nothing, and I’ve never seen a staging that made me laugh less...Similarly bothersome is the conceptual vagueness of the production...The result is a slapdash extravaganza, one that is so heavily cut that the coherence of the play is diminished still further….Ms. McTeer is, needless to say, an actor of the first rank, but there is no comic relish to her performance."
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Deadline
June 14th, 2016

"Lloyd has transformed Shakespeare’s misogynist comedy into a tract with a laugh track…Played with glorious greasy swagger by Janet McTeer, Petruchio is a balls-grabbing, cock o’ the walk…Lloyd is utterly unfazed by Shakespeare, cutting the text, interpolating torn-from-the-headlines asides and adding a coda that restates the obvious. Yes, much of it is rollickingly funny; none of it is remotely romantic. Which is the point, I suppose...I loved it. And I hated it."
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New York Post
June 15th, 2016

"In short, this 'Shrew' is a hot mess, but a goofily entertaining one…Cush Jumbo amps it up to the max...In contrast, Donna Lynne Champlin and LaTanya Richardson Jackson both play it straight as men, which actually adds to the comedy...Things start to drag halfway through, but then, that’s the Bard’s fault. No one seems to know how to handle the final scene...We rush through to the choreographed curtain call, set to Joan Jett’s 'Bad Reputation.' When in doubt, rock out."
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New York Daily News
June 13th, 2016

"McTeer’s performance is randy, boisterous and consistently amusing. Cush Jumbo doesn't quite rise so high as the reluctant bride Katherina…Boasting an eclectic and talented ensemble, this revival of the unruly play is chockablock with ideas beyond its no-guys-allowed concept…When all is said and done, the Public Theater's free show doesn't add up and misses as many laughs as it lands."
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AM New York
June 13th, 2016

"An all-female, freewheeling, politically-minded production, which presents the comedy as lowbrow entertainment...The characters are played up as broad caricatures who engage in clowning and visual gags. Jumbo’s Katherine is a spoiled, screaming child in pigtails and McTeer’s Petruchio is a cocky cowboy in a black leather jacket...The fast-paced production, even if self-conscious and somewhat muddled, manages to be both enjoyable and outright disturbing.”
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Theatermania
June 13th, 2016

"While there is undoubtedly a direct line from the woman-breaking themes of Shakespeare's text to the vaselined feminine perfection engendered by beauty pageants, Lloyd dilutes the potential of this concept by seeming to choose several others as backups...The end result is a cacophony of ideas that drown one another out. This is unfortunate because, stripped of all its bells and whistles, this is an incredibly well-acted and compelling production."
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BroadwayWorld
June 14th, 2016

"Phyllida Lloyd's freestyle riff on 'Shrew,' a sly-humored feminist rebellion...More a play about privilege than just a knockabout battle of the sexes. Lloyd trims the play to an intermissionless two hours, punctuated with fun off-beat moments…Perhaps the faded carnival setting is more representative of the production's style than of its dramaturgy. Here, 'The Taming of the Shrew' serves as the carnival midway for an entertaining assortment of attractions revolting against the patriarchy."
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Lighting & Sound America
June 22nd, 2016

"Lloyd's ideas are sophomoric or self-congratulatory or both…Her satire is so lame, so secondhand, so left over from television comedy sketches of three or four decades ago...Because so much time is spent on this sort of fooling around, the actual play seems to have gotten very little attention...This points to a deeper problem: Her conception of the main characters forecloses on any possibility of their engaging our interest."
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Talkin' Broadway
June 14th, 2016

"Lloyd's crowning achievement here is unquestionably getting this big group of gifted, charismatic actresses to come together and tell this story, and it's certainly a joy to watch them. But because Lloyd's spin is so sloppy and incomprehensible, in the way it repudiates Shakespeare but replaces him with nothing, the many fine women in the company become almost props in an act that claims to elevate them but instead causes them to shrink before our eyes."
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TheaterScene.net
June 18th, 2016

“If you missed Phyllida Lloyd’s all-female productions of ‘Julius Caesar’ and ‘Henry IV’, don’t miss her rollicking all-female version of the now politically incorrect comedy, ‘The Taming of the Shrew’, first of this year’s Free Shakespeare in the Park. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that she has cast Tony, Olivier, Golden Globe and Drama Desk Award winner Janet McTeer who turns in a virtuoso performance as Petruchio giving the unmarriageable Katherina a run for her money.”
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Theater Pizzazz
June 18th, 2016

"Sadly, this season’s first offering is as disappointing as biting into the first watermelon of the season only to find it tasteless and dry...None of the performances stood out, and I found McTeer’s overly dramatized, husky-voiced Petruchio to be one-dimensional and irritating...The more telling reaction was the virtual absence of raucous laughter during the core of the play...Genteel laughter throughout the piece is a sign of failure, not success, and that was the mood of this one."
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CurtainUp
June 13th, 2016

“A hilarious and thoroughly of the moment romp. It may not be Shakespeare at his most subtle or have the consistency of style of LLoyd's other Shakespeare plays, but it's definitely great fun...Ms. Lloyd, her actors and staging team have mined every possibility for boisterously bold comedy, taking full advantage of the outdoor setting, and using the gender-busting casting to satirize Elizabethan macho.”
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Front Row Center
June 14th, 2016

"As for being tamed, Ms. Jumbo does not quite deliver…It is obvious that this production has been carefully constructed...Judy Gold (Gremio) is given the task of explaining in a stand-up routine that there were cuts made…She pulls it off just fine, but it is an odd insertion…Only McTeer is free of headgear, binding or zippers. This may be in part why she is so loose and free in her performance. McTeer brings swagger, spark and bounce to the evening."
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Theatre's Leiter Side
June 15th, 2016

"Having only women play roles in a work focusing on male-female behavior helps underline issues of gender construction but it goes only so far...Apart from McTeer’s show-stealing, super-macho, bully-boy, but oddly charmless Petruchio...few others make much of an impression. Jumbo has done much better work...but here she’s...more a petulant child than a serious challenge for Petruchio to overcome."
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DC Theatre Scene
June 14th, 2016

"The all-female production seems to be working hard to make the play more palatable…A pieced-together, awkwardly integrated entertainment that can be enjoyed as a whole, as long it’s not overly scrutinized...The sexism is too obvious, and too edged in something ugly… McTeer is a caricature of The Human Male, and while much of it is humorous, there is nothing funny about her torturing of Katherina."
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Village Voice
June 14th, 2016

"The radical decision in Phyllida Lloyd's carnivalesque version isn't the (stellar) all-woman cast. No — it's that these women actually play Shakespeare's violence without apology...McTeer's Petruchio breaks Katherina to marriage while swaggering like Mick Jagger, giving a performance worth standing in line for. Indeed, the deep bench of women performing next to her are Lloyd's real rebuke to the patriarchy. Why do we do Shakespeare any other way?"
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Times Square Chronicles
June 14th, 2016

"I hate when overly ambitious directors think it is OK to screw with an author's text…Phyllida Lloyd’s all-female production is an all-out Trump hate fest and not the play...The only reasons to see this production are for the fabulous Janet McTeer, who makes Petruchio a swaggering, crotch-grabbing, peeing, barfing, farting, strutting man watchable, and the wonderful Donna Lynne Champlin playing multiple roles."
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The Guardian (UK)
June 13th, 2016

"Lloyd offers an often funny, sometimes astute, and not exactly subtle reading of Shakespeare’s problem comedy...The cast is mixed in its abilities...No one wears the verse as lightly and brashly as McTeer...Though the play clocks in at just two hours and though Lloyd’s clarity of vision doesn’t flag, in certain scenes the actors seem to do little more than trudge through the iambs...The ending is somehow too blatant. It defuses and eases the real discomfort the play occasions."
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The Clyde Fitch Report
June 14th, 2016

"Lloyd jubilantly knows what she’s doing, and, with this 'Shrew,' she jubilantly comments on male behavior…It’s not going out on a limb to say that Lloyd delivers one of the best free Shakespeare offerings ever, courtesy of a cast of male-impersonator beauties, led by the fearless Janet McTeer…Indeed, there’s not a woman as a man in the entire cast who isn’t pulling the drag off hilariously and looking to be having a helluva good time at it...Lloyd fills this 'Shrew' with delightful surprises."
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The Huffington Post
June 13th, 2016

“Breezy adaptation, canny casting and a handful of delectable performances combine to make Shakespeare’s ‘Taming of the Shrew’ a 425-year-old romp for audiences...To start with the best, we have the Petruchio of Janet McTeer opposite the Katherina of Cush Jumbo. Keep your Alfred Lunts and Alfred Drakes and Richard Burtons...If we’re going to have ‘Taming of the Shrew’, this is a fine way to have it.”
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The Wrap
June 13th, 2016

"Jumbo proves that she’s no more adept at comedy than drama...What you get is a lot of small men on stage. It’s just not very funny, and Lloyd doesn’t push the machismo enough to be parody…McTeer delivers an adequate Petrochio…Lloyd means to say that while the play has the word 'shrew' in the title it’s populated with a bunch of total pricks. The men are the ones who’ve made Kate bad. This take is interesting for about five minutes. In performance, it turns dull fast."
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Wolf Entertainment Guide
June 14th, 2016

"How you take to this will depend on the extent to which you are willing to revel in an elaborately vulgar staging geared more for low-brow laughs...It is all so very hyper throughout, which provides fun for those who delight in this sort of interpretation but does nothing to illuminate the play...On this occasion, Shakespeare is all but abandoned for a vaudevillian romp that takes away from seeing how well women might more seriously perform traditional male roles."
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W
June 14th, 2016

"A concept gone off the rails with no cohesive point of view...In this production, the heroine is a tantrum-throwing, childish brat (and not believable as that, either). As conceived one presumes by Lloyd and played by an ill-suited Cush Jumbo, her only merit is a dowry. The relationship is meaningless...The best reason to sit through this mishmash is far and away Janet McTeer…McTeer, calculates, manipulates, revels, and gloats in perfect tenor. A masterful turn."
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T
June 21st, 2016

“A radical interpretation featuring an all-female cast staged by a female director. The intentions may be honorable, but the results are mixed at best...Despite the directorial overkill, Lloyd knows how to keep a show moving...Plus, there are performances to cheer. Janet McTeer is irresistibly infectious as a macho Petruchio...Cush Jumbo’s Kate is spirited and fiery, but she fails to make sense of the heroine’s final conversion to domesticity or the frantic denouement imposed by Lloyd.”
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Newsday
June 13th, 2016

“I can’t say that Phyllida Lloyd’s all-women production made me see this supposed farce, deep down, as something other than a tragedy...Wonderfully cast with Janet McTeer as Petruchio and Cush Jumbo as the unruly heroine...The problem-and, ultimately, it is a problem-is that we still don’t understand these characters...We miss the discipline, the psychological underpinning that might have made ‘Shrew’ less of a revenge joke and more of a Shakespearean reclamation.”
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The Stage (UK)
June 14th, 2016

"A brand-new, spirited and frequently fun production…Fun isn't always a term applied too readily to this troubling problem play about a forced marriage, but in Lloyd’s hands Kate is such a spirited, feisty presence that it smooths away some of those concerns…Lloyd’s direction softens and deepens it, too. It lets us look at the play afresh from a female perspective – and the production generates a distinct chill beneath the surface frivolity."
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NorthJersey.com
June 14th, 2016

"In her all-female, modern-dress roller-coaster of a production, director Phyllida Lloyd takes liberties with the play, but the result, if a big ragged, is often wickedly funny. Much credit goes to the wonderful British actress Janet McTeer…In McTeer’s portrayal, Petruchio is a harsh, even cruel chauvinist, while also a hilarious caricature of one…Since 'Shrew,' is a loosely constructed, not terribly good play, with much time spent with the tedious wooing of Bianca, no narrative harm is done."
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Financial Times (UK)
June 13th, 2016

"Lloyd’s version is an uproarious montage that unleashes the full force of the play’s farcical and vaudevillian energy...Displaying an endearing mixture of charm and clumsiness, Jumbo has comic talents reminiscent of Doris Day or Lucille Ball…Adapting perfectly to the demands of open-air performance, Lloyd has reinvented 'The Shrew' while preserving its original unsettling power. This is what it must have felt like in the Globe."
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WNBC
June 13th, 2016

“Starring two exceptionally animated actresses and offering generally low-stakes direction from Phyllida Lloyd...Some 16 talented actresses swagger around and perform with exaggerated behaviors generally associated with the less-fair sex. No one seems to be having more fun than McTeer...This interpretation is certainly asserting that women have more choices than they did in the Bard’s day. It’s good, smirking fun, sometimes too-smitten with its own sense of edginess.”
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TheaterScene.com
June 22nd, 2016

"There's nothing tame about Lloyd's new gender-bending production...This show-within-a show adds a lot of political texture to the drama...Shifting genders, the femmes on stage do a remarkable job at impersonating all the dramatic characters tucked into the Bard’s play...No question that Lloyd likes to rattle theatrical tradition here...Its humorous possibilities are freshly plumbed in Lloyd's savvy new production."
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Out Magazine
June 20th, 2016

“On paper, this sounds like a ‘Why even bother doing the show if you have to gussy it up with so many gimmicks and quote marks?’ But amazingly, it pretty much works...The women convince in their male roles, generally not going for camp, yet it’s enough of a masquerade to underline the reverse trick they’re pulling off in emasculating the males. The visuals don’t all mesh, and when the production gets heavy-handed about spoofing male pigs, it’s too shrewish.”
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NJ.com
June 14th, 2016

"Lloyd doesn't so much as attempt to deconstruct or reinvent 'Shrew' as she does declare open war on the play...A joke that at first seems too obvious gradually coalesces: Lloyd is connecting past to present, and showing us that, 400-plus years after this text was first written, men still see it as their birthright to control the fates of women...All of this is great fun and very deft—a 'Shrew' that remains faithful to Shakespeare's story, while also functioning as a pointed auto-critique."
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Epoch Times
June 20th, 2016

“One cannot shake the feeling that both Lloyd and Eustis are apologizing for the play they’re presenting...Despite these problems, Lloyd’s use of an all-female cast works well...McTeer and Jumbo do a great job with their respective roles...The actresses play off each other well, engaging in a battle of wills that takes place on numerous levels...An interesting effort, this production comes off as far too hung up on its subject matter to be completely effective.”
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Z
June 13th, 2016

"It’s frantic and frenzied, and like all wild parties, both thrilling and exhausting...Having women play the roles of the sexist barb-throwers doesn’t reduce the discomfort…With McTeer as Petruchio strutting and Jumbo as Katharina spitting and spinning, and all the rest of the talented cast making us laugh and keeping us entertained from the opening pageant to the Joan Jett bows, it’s a fast and fun two hours. But does it solve the problem of this thorny, difficult, discomfiting play? No way."
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Edge New York
June 14th, 2016

"Phyllida Lloyd gathers together a whip-smart cast of powerful women…At two intermission-less hours, the play is tight, if uneven at times. While some of the actors seemed to shout their lines, McTeer alone seemed to live them. Applause must go to the winning Gilmore as Donato; Moore in her imposter role; and of course, the excellent comedian Judy Gold, who saved the day by doing impromptu stand-up during a technical difficulty."
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Center on the Aisle
June 14th, 2016

"Despite its all-female cast, Lloyd’s Shrew doesn’t lack sexual sparks, thanks to the two powerhouse British actresses who play the Shrew and her ‘tamer.’…Although Jumbo’s performance is appropriately fiery, commanding, and compelling, in this production it is the tamer, rather than the tamed, who is most beguiling. As Katherina’s gold-digging suitor, then husband, McTeer is this production’s shining and guiding light."
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NY Theatre Guide
June 24th, 2016

"Lloyd seems uncertain of her concept in several moments, and relies on other devices to get her message across...In doing so, she makes the play less cohesive...Many directors have found ways around 'The Taming of the Shrew’s' outdated values. While Lloyd’s solution is certainly clever and original, there are as many elements in this production that do not work as those that do. If she truly wanted to make a statement in favor of women’s empowerment, she only partially succeeded."
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