Had the most fantastic night at the Chichester Festival Theatre last night watching a preview performance of Cole Porter’s Kiss Me Kate, this year’s summer musical at the CFT and part of the CFT 50 years celebrations.
For those who haven’t seen the play before, it is the result of a collaboration by the authors of the book Kiss Me Kate, husband and wife team Sam and Bella Spewack and the supremely talented Broadway writer Cole Porter. The story is based on William Shakepeare’s The Taming of the Shrew features a show within a show, centring on a touring theatre group’s production of a cut down version of the Shakespeare play. Around this, is the sub plot focussing on the two lead actors, an ex-husband and wife reunited for this show, some shenanigans involving an IUO issued by another cast member in the name of the lead actor and the visitation of the “heavies” to collect the debt.
The storyline, the songs and the exhuberance with which it is performed by the whole cast makes for truly entertaining theatre. For me however, it is the brilliant and eye wateringly funny vaudeville turn by the two “heavies” – First Man and Second Man; played by David Burt and Clive Rowe which stole the show. The understated but cleverly choreographed dance routine coupled with the masterful wordplay which makes up the song ‘Brush up your Shakespeare’, delivered in incredible deadpan style makes this a truly memorable scene.
Kiss me Kate is at the Chichester Festival Theatre until 1st September 2012. Go and see it!