This will sound like heresy to devout Shakespeareans, but sorry, folks, Kiss Me, Kate has it all over The Taming of the Shrew. Score one for the 20th century. If you’re dubious about this claim, check out the Old Globe’s opulent presentation of Kiss, Me Kate directed by the estimable Darko Tresnjak, former Globe Shakespeare Festival artistic director. Befitting its legacy, this Kiss Me, Kate has a grand Broadway look and feel about it. The pace is swift (even for a lengthy show), the laughs are old-fashioned but impossible to resist, and the music is Cole Porter. ‘Nuff said.
Kiss Me, Kate’s beloved show tunes (“So in Love,” “Too Darn Hot,” “Always True to You in My Fashion,” the comical “Brush Up Your Shakespeare,” et. al.) are in very good hands, thanks to Kris Kukul’s music direction and two likable leads (Anastasia Barzee and Mike McGowan) who know when to apply the right wit or sensitivity. Add Peggy Hickey’s animated choreography and Alexander Dodge’s vividly realized sets and you’ve got a big-time summer treat to savor.
David L. Coddon is theater critic for San Diego CityBeat