Review: The Taming Of The Shrew, at Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

A drinking, smoking, tattooed hellcat of a woman with claws almost proves a match for wife-hunting Petruchio.

Lisa Dillon literally comes out fighting as ‘shrew’ Katherina and makes her entrance attacking every man in sight.

She’s a fierce spitfire who won’t be pushed around and she keeps everyone at a distance.

David Caves as suitor Petruchio towers above her, but that doesn’t stop Katherina’s attacks. She simply climbs up on a chair to reach her tormentor.

The raw sexual chemistry between the pair is as strong as the insults and blows they throw at each other and the courtship adds to director Lucy Bailey’s strong comedy cast, from Simon Gregor throwing out martial arts moves as servant Grumio, to Coventry’s John Marquez as servant Tranio switching identities with his young master.

The Royal Shakespeare Company production boasts a setting that wouldn’t look out of place in a Godfather movie and, for once, the side story of drunken Christopher Fry is absolutely hilarious, thanks to Nick Holder’s baggy stained underpants performance that offers a lot of bare-faced cheek... two cheeks, in fact.

Runs until February 18 and then tours. Details: