British actor David Suchet

The Taming of the Shrew | 1978—1979

Dates and places

Opened at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon on May 4, 1978 (previews began on April 19); transferred to the Theatre Royal, Newcastle-upon-Tyne on February 27, 1979; and then moved to the Aldwych Theatre, London on April 27, 1979.


Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Michael Bogdanov
Designer: Chris Dyer
Lighting: Chris Ellis
Sound and Music: Tony Haynes


David Suchet as Grumio
Jonathan Pryce as Petruchio
Paola Dionisotti as Kate
Anthony Higgins as Lucentio
Zoe Wanamaker as Bianka

and Paul Brooke, Paul Webster, David Lyon, Allan Hendrick, Catherine Riding, Juliet Stevenson, George Raistrick, James Griffin, Geoffrey Freshwater, Conrad Asquith.

About the show

This production’s contemporary setting generated a provocative and demanding relevance, presenting the taming story as a distasteful exhibition of male chauvinism and exploitation. The huntsmen threw a vixen’s bloody pelt down upon the sleeping drunkard and, instead of a play-within-a-play, the ensuing action took the form of Sly-as-Petruchio’s dream of male domination and power. The rewritten Induction had its Sly figure emerging from amidst the audience settling into their seats just before the show began. He abused an usherette who was trying to calm him down before clambering up onto the stage and wrecking the pretty Italianate set. Only then did it become clear that this frighteningly unpredictable man was a role performed by the actor Jonathan Pryce and fully part of the play. This was a new version of Sly, who went on to dream of himself as the fantasy figure, Petruchio. Katherina (Paola Dionisotti, who had first appeared in the guise of the usherette) delivered her speech of wifely duty in a toneless, lifeless voice. Petruchio had the grace to look ashamed of what he had done but this did not stop him securing his winnings on his way out.

[...] The production began with a prologue so convincing that on more than one occasion, members of the audience left the auditorium to call the police! Once the house-lights went down, a drunk in the audience — later revealed to be Christopher Sly — started a commotion and argued with an usherette. After pushing her to the floor, he then rampaged around the auditorium, tearing down scenery, before being restrained by other actors, theatre staff and occasionally, concerned members of the audience. Once restrained, Sly was stripped and plonked in a bath. The action took place with the initial scenery ripped back to reveal bare walls and metalwork...

What press had to say:

“[In] this production, set in a Mafioso-type 1930s Italy...some of the devices work better than others: no marks for the pantomime horse, or the flashily anachronistic Honda motorbike, but the Salvation Army-type band is a redemption” — Sally Aire for Plays and Players, July 1978

“But both Pryce and Dionisotti carry out die chosen interpretation with skill and there is good support from David Suchet as a baggy trousered Grumio and Ian Charleson as a pert, velveteen Tranio.” — Michael Billington for One Night Stands, 5 May 1978

© 1979 | anthonyhiggins.narod.ru

image from www.rsc.org.uk | photo by Joe Cocks Studio

On photo: Act 4 Scene 3.

Katharina Go, get thee gone, thou false deluding slave, That feed’st me with the very name of meat. Sorrow on thee and all the pack of you / That triumph thus upon my misery!

Petruchio has been starving Kate as part of his plan to ’tame’ her. She pleads with his servant Grumio to bring her some food. He toys with her and refuses. Desperate and hungry, she attacks him.

Grumio — David Suchet, Katharina — Paola Dionisotti



The Taming Of The Shrew
— Michael Billington // One Night Stands, 1978



download large image | photo by Joe Cocks Studio


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© 2012. Design by Daria Pichugina
© 2001—2014. Texts by Daria Pichugina, Adelka
© 2001—2014. Translated by Adelka, Kim Dolce, Elena Ukhina et al.

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