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The Taming of the Shrew (Delacorte)

From 42 critic and 188 member reviews
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. More…

Lovely Bianca is the prize to be won by all the men looking to land themselves a wealthy wife. But the competitors will first have to marry off Bianca’s clever, fiery older sister, Katherina, who may just outsmart them all. Tony and Olivier winner Janet McTeer plays Petruchio, the wild outsider Katherina must outwit, in Shakespeare’s original screwball comedy showing the lengths men will go to for their legacy, what women will do to break free, and the outrageous things we all do for the human heart.

Financial Times (UK)

"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." Full Review

The Clyde Fitch Report

"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." Full Review


“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.” Full Review


“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.” Full Review

The Huffington Post

“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.” Full Review

The New York Times

“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.” Full Review

Village Voice

"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?" Full Review

Time Out New York

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

The Stage (UK)

"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." Full Review

Center on the Aisle

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review


“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.” Full Review

Out Magazine

“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.” Full Review

AM New York

"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.” Full Review


"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." Full Review

New York Post

"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." Full Review


“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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

Edge New York

"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." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review


“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.” Full Review

Epoch Times

“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.” Full Review

Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining, Funny

See it if You love Shakespeare's comedies

Don't see it if You don't

Clever, Ambitious, Edgy, Great acting, Great staging

See it if You want to see performers and directors engage "The Taming of the Shrew" honestly and vulnerably

Don't see it if You've got something against women and their opinions

Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining

See it if Taming of the Shrew, in most of its iterations, is my favorite Shakespeare piece and I highly recommend you go watch it.

Don't see it if Shakespearean language as a whole can be off-putting to people, but you should still try it out and this is one of the best shows to try it.

Absorbing, Clever, Edgy, Original, Thought-provoking

See it if You love Shakespeare, free theatre, great outdoor setting, an all female cast, a less-performed Shakes play.

Don't see it if You can't handle issues of domestic violence (hence the all female cast).

Delightful, Entertaining, Exquisite

See it if you like Shakespeare and comedies.

Don't see it if There is NO REASON not to see it.

Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Must see, Original

See it if You like the newest, original take on Shakespeare -being delighted watching all women doing a great job

Don't see it if You want tame drama performed in the classical sense. If you don't want to be surprised and refreshed by new takes on old works.

Clever, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Refreshing, Hilarious

See it if You enjoy Shakespeare with a twist, and in a non traditional format. Brilliant acting and excellent adaptation.

Don't see it if You don't like gals who are kick ass actresses-this one for the girls!

Must see, Refreshing, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if You want to see a well-acted version of Taming that doesn't shy away from the misogyny.

Don't see it if You aren't a Shakespeare fan, or don't like it when shows mix up the genders of the cast.

Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Funny, Hilarious

See it if great acting, fresh and relevant take on classic play. Cast is great.

Don't see it if you don't like non-traditional Shakespeare.

Entertaining, Great staging, Great acting, Hilarious, Original

See it if U want to see a female powered amazing, refreshingly creative remake of an often performed play. For Cash Jumbo and Janet McAteer and cast.

Don't see it if You like your Shakepeare to follow his meticulous stage directions. You dislike females in male roles. You love tradition. Can't get tickets

Clever, Absorbing, Relevant

See it if You love watching Shakespeare done right!

Don't see it if you have a closed mind and can't enjoy what brilliance is on stage

Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Ambitious

See it if You want to see an all female cast take on one of Shakespeare's most misogynistic works

Don't see it if You cannot handle the play's misogyny.

Clever, Funny, Great acting, Quirky, Refreshing

See it if you're excited about an all-female cast

Don't see it if you aren't ready to be surprised

Delightful, Clever, Cush jumbo (as kate) & janet mcteer (as petruchio) are the comic coupling of the decade!!, Great acting, Great staging

See it if I waited for FREE tickets 3 times due the hilarity of the show & this Summer's mild weather. Loved CUSH!! Best Shrew I've ever seen!!

Don't see it if Purists will find the addition of modern elements off putting, includint a Beauty & Talent Pageant, a comic monogue from Judy Gold, & an RV!

Clever, Entertaining, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Edgy

See it if you love Shakespeare plays, enjoy reconceived classics w/all female casts, love outdoor theater on a beautiful summer night in Central Park.

Don't see it if you hate Shakespeare plays or plays with heightened classical language, if you don't enjoy plays where women play all the roles.

Also Took a 5 year old to see it and they were entranced from start to fini... Read more Read less

Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if you want to see a new twist to the play. It was so funny to see Trump satirized.

Don't see it if you can't handle Shakespeare told in the 21 century.

Absorbing, Clever, Great staging, Romantic, Refreshing

See it if you're looking for a Shakespeare play with a modern, engaging twist. This all-female cast is stellar.

Don't see it if you don't like Shakespeare's plays.

Entertaining, Great acting, Intelligent, Original, Must see

See it if If you would enjoy a modern feminist twist on one of Shakespeare's most misogynist plays, a fantastic all female company, and quirky add-ons

Don't see it if You don't enjoy updated versions of Shakespeare (that don't change dialogue but actions with) or talented females playing "male" parts.

Funny, Ambitious, Original

See it if You enjoy a new take on the inherently misogynistic Taming of the Shrew. And if you enjoy taking the piss out of Donald Trump.

Don't see it if You prefer traditional Shakespeare plays, don't like feminism, are a Trump supporter.

Ambitious, Dizzying, Funny, Great staging, Indulgent

See it if see a first-class production spun on its head in setting and gender to often hilarious effect; McTeer and Jumbo shine at the top of cast

Don't see it if Kate's closing speech still rankles sensibilities despite the production spin; not as tight as one might expect from Shakespearian companies

Funny, Ambitious, Edgy

See it if Enjoy Shakespeare and examining the relationship between men, women as well as father's and daughter's. A challenging work.

Don't see it if dislike Shakespeare and thinking.

Clever, Great acting, Funny, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if Really clever concept on this sexist play. I was definitely entertained and enjoyed the rocking out at bows. Such a fun evening!

Don't see it if you're not a fan of all same sex casts.

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Hilarious

See it if You know who Jacquetta of Luxemborg is You can stand Shakespeare You want to hear Judy Gold break the fourth wall

Don't see it if You get offended easily You don't know what you're getting into You don't understand Shakespeare

Ambitious, Relevant, Refreshing, Hilarious

See it if you enjoy Shakespeare and all-women casts

Don't see it if You are easily offended by misogyny, even when it's being lampooned

Clever, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you enjoy fresh, new takes on the Bard and his work powered by an all-woman cast and director!

Don't see it if you don't enjoy many liberties taken both in design and text.

Cast & Creatives (22)