Note: I had decided to not review “Kiss Me Kate!” and just go see it because I know the director and most of the cast. Actually, I just saw the director this morning. If I had had to review the show and it wasn’t good, I would have actually felt bad about having to express that in my review. I decided that if I liked it that writing a little blurb on here would be much easier.
Liane Nichols’ direction of Cole Porter and Sam and Bella Spewack’s musical “Kiss Me Kate” is a delectable entertainment. Everything about this production shines; from the entire cast of twenty-two actors, to the musical itself, to the orchestra that is made up of three members, to the costumes, to Tim King’s rather complex set to show the backstage area, dressing rooms’ interior, and the set for the musical “The Taming of the Shrew.”
It helps that the production has two phenomenal leads, Brian McCarty and Kristin Teig Torres, as the leads, Fred and Lilli. Not only do they possess singing voices I could listen to all day, but they are great actors that give their characters depth. As the floozy Lois Lane (I’m pretty sure this was written pre-Superman), Rhiannon Talbot is outrageously believable. Greg Holt and Duane McDonald are deeply amusing as Flex and Duey, two well-read gangsters that arrive at the theater to collect a debt from a bet. During most of act one, they were seated in one of the boxes in the Oster Regent eating popcorn and watching the musical-within-a-musical on stage. Unfortunately, I was unable to watch what they were doing because I was too focused on what was happening on stage.
Deb Tuzicka’s choreography is lively and interesting without being flashy. But the choreography makes “Too Darn Hot” very, very hot. And having only three musicians in the pit worked very well and kept the problem of the orchestra overpowering the actors that occurs with many musicals at the Oster Regent from happening.
The show runs has a matinee performance at 2 p.m. today and next week Sunday, when it closes. On June 19 and 20, performances are at 7:30 p.m.. And if you’re a student, I don’t know why you shouldn’t go with tickets being priced at $10. I don’t see why anyone shouldn’t go, unless they don’t like some sexy choreography and the title of Shakespeare’s play “Coriolanus.”