|Scene-stealer Robin Hurder in Kiss Me Kate (Tracy Martin)|
Kiss Me Kate
5th Avenue Theatre
Through April 29, 2018
The story goes that a Broadway producer, thinking back on his memories of the great acting couple of Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne and their feuding ways while performing Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, decided that the headstrong couple mimicked the headstrong couple in Shakespeare’s famous play. Couldn’t that make a fun and funny musical? He asked writing couple Bella and Samuel Spewack to come up with a script (the “book”) and they asked Cole Porter to compose and Kiss Me Kate was born.
If you look too closely at that script, there are moments that really don’t work, but the songs are glorious and the aspects of slap-stick farce are numerous and funny. So, just don’t look too hard! It’s more fun that way.
The current production at The 5th Avenue Theatre is a joyous and raucous affair, gleefully helmed by Alan Paul, who ekes out every funny moment he can, both from the book and the score, and the dazzling choreography of Michele Lynch and a nimble cast. Paul, working with music director Joel Fram, puts new spins on classic songs like I Hate Men (with saucy Cayman Ilika wielding a wicked banana!), clearly meaning to slow songs down for emphasis, mostly on the jokes.