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Review: Books, Theatre, Albums, Movies and Gigs

The Taming Of The Shrew

Scarisbrick Hall, Southport
June 23 – August 10 (Touring)

Author: William Shakespeare
Producer: C'est Tous Theatre Co
Cast includes: Christine Hallas-Appleby, David Houston, Sean Rigby, Rebecca Loudonsack, Ryan Norse

Image: William Shakespear


With the assembled children in the audience encouraged beforehand to take part in an impromptu workshop, much to the joy of their parents, C’est Tous continue bring new audiences to Shakespeare’s work and should, for that at least, be roundly applauded. With The Taming Of The Shrew being performed in the picturesque surroundings of an estate that’s been in existence since 1238, ambience was never going to be a problem and despite the fact that the weather was as chilled as February, with ominous clouds depicting more Macbeth’s stormy Scotland than Petruchio’s sun-kissed Italy, the assembled throng of some 200 devotees of one The Bard’s more accessible comedies picnicked and sipped from equally as chilled wines and beers, with a degree of expectancy that, for the most part, was fulfilled satisfactorily.

Of the performances, stand out male was without doubt David Houston as the self-serving, brash and bullying Petruchio. So heavily did Houston throw himself into the role, he out bawled the rising wind with ease and utilised with gusto almost every inch of the vast courtyard at his disposal.

Impressive, too, was Rebecca Loudensack in the role of Bianca. The feisty essence of youthful mischief shone through with great energy and purpose, counteracting Christine Hallas-Appleby playing Katherina, who held all the moves of a successful Shrew despite her voice being sadly often lost to the elements on occasion.

When none of these three were on stage – which, in fairness, was rare – proceedings slowed and the action became a little static, despite Ryan Norse playing Lucentio and Sean Rigby as Grumio, however, both lighting up proceedings in the dimming light like flares.

Overall, this was a competent production that made for an enjoyable evening and will undoubtedly continue to impress its audiences on those hot summer nights to come in some of the North West’s outstanding surroundings.

Chris High

Sat 30th June – Kendal Castle
Sat 7th July – Heskin Hall, Eccleston
Sat 14th July – Carlisle Castle
Sun 15th July – Pennington Park, Wigan
Fri 20th July – Beeston Castle, Chesshire
Sat 21st and Sat 29th July – Chester Amphitheatre
Sun 29th July – Haighton Manor, Longridge
Fri 10th Aug – Brougham Hall, Penrith.



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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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