Training of the Shrew by 1001 Steps Theatre Society is a cute concept that misses the mark. It adapts Shakespeare’s play Taming of the Shrew with a spin — instead of the Shrew not being marriageable, she’s not coachable (in this adaption she’s a violent, quick-tempered boxer). The use of boxing as the basis of the play certainly adds comedic elements to the performance, especially in terms of physical humour which the actors are all really good at. However, where the play is weakest is in its faithfulness to the source material. Some of the elements, like the sister not being able to marry until Kate, the Shrew, has a coach don’t make much sense in this context.
The play also suffers from its location at the Picnic Pavilion at Granville Island. The boxing ring setup is certainly a cool idea, however with many of the actors rolling around on the floor, the audience members at the back can’t see what is going on. It’s also outside with no heating so on cold rainy days it gets quite chilly.
In the end, though, I will say the cast have a lot of energy and they have good comedic timing which does lend for an enjoyable performance. If you decide to go see it, my advice would be to sit in the front and make sure to bring a coat!
Training of the Shrew by 1001 Steps Theatre Society is playing at the Picnic Pavilion 6 - 16 September as part of the 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival.
~ reviewed by Jenna Masuhara
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