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“Kiss Me Kate”

A great set, and I wouldn’t expect anything else from HHTC – I particularly liked the two false doors downstage, that were moved to make the dressing rooms - very well thought-out, and the seamless scene changes were excellent.

Musically, it was a good production.  There were two MD’s, which was unusual but they seemed to have worked well together, and coached the cast well.  The band was mostly good, with some lovely rounded sounds.  There were a couple of places where the sound balance needed attention, but overall sound was fine.

Lighting was good throughout, and helped the mood of the piece.

Costumes were very colourful, and suitable for the characters.

Choreography worked well for the ensemble numbers, but I wasn’t sure about the tarantella which I wasn’t convinced worked.  The pavanne was good.  Too Darn Hot is quite difficult to do if there aren’t many dancers in the cast, but it was effective, and gave the feeling of extreme heat!

I felt the whole production needed a little more energy – it seemed a little pedestrian at times.

For me Sarah Winter stole the show, with her interpretation of Lilli, she sang and acted it well, with real vitriol in her voice.  Vocally very good, I thought I Hate Men was excellent, loads of expression - I enjoyed her performance.

David Broom played Fred, and again gave a good performance – vocally I enjoyed Where Is the Life That Late I Led? better than So in Love in Act 2. I liked the calmness of David’ interpretation, only getting fiery when needed – the relationship and contrast between him and Sarah was also good, and I really enjoyed Wunderbar.

Steven J Davies was enjoyable as the lovable gambler Bill, he also performed a creditable dance routine in his number, and got a good relationship with Lois.

Haydn Davis and Tony Harvey made up the trio of suitors with Steve, and were musically good, I enjoyed their interaction.

I liked Naomi Brown as Lois Lane, she was ditzy without being too over the top, and kept her character throughout.

Terry Casserley and David Lodge as the First and Second Men were fun gangsters, and certainly looked the part – their costumes were particularly good.  I would have liked a bit more comedy in Brush Up Your Shakespeare, but overall they did well.

Lee Marsh created a very regimental General Howell, I loved the contrast between him and the other actors, which injected another dimension into the production.

There were many cases where people doubled up on characters, and these worked well, providing cover for all parts from a relatively small cast.

I liked the finale and the configuration of the bows, a rousing ending to a good, but not exceptional production.

Hemel Hempstead Theatre Company

“KISS ME KATE” review date: 12th May 2016

Boxmoor Playhouse

Director: Catherine Marsh Choreographer:  Amanda Ling

MD: Peter Jones/Jonathan Ben   


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