Review: The Taming of the Shrew (Khaos Company Theatre) 

What was funny, far-fetched and just plain off

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Khaos has created a very bare-boned production of The Taming of the Shrew, and once again, it doesn't offer much in terms of scenery or proper masking of backstage.

The show's transitions were clunky, some of the blocking was either messy or stagnant, and a couple of the smaller parts were played — to put it politely — amateurishly.

Some of the gender bending was a bit far-fetched, particularly Grumio being played by a young woman with a thin, curled mustachio protruding from each nostril. Another perplexing decision was the choice to cast an older Hortensio when the young fellow playing the pantaloon Gremio was haphazardly plastered with white hair dye. This topsy-turvy casting was most noticeable in the rather awkward interaction of Hortensio and the very, very young Bianca. What's more, one got the sense that Lucentio had absolutely no, um ... carnal interest in Bianca.

Additionally, it seemed that every other minute, Katherina, played by K.C.T.'s artistic director Kaylee Spivey Good, would affect a distorted grimace — not the playful mugging of a clown but the exaggerated attempts of a toddler pretending to be an irate adult — and this was essentially the extent of her characterization.

Still, new director Heather Bartram has created a pretty darn funny show and made a delightful cameo as the dimwitted Biondello. Anthony Logan Nathan's Petruchio was also enjoyable, despite having some noticeable line issues and a mouth full of gum — unless he was channeling Burt Reynolds with that constant chewing, in which case, well, that makes sense. Logan's deadpan presentation and quick wit were within a hairsbreadth of being right up there with those of Rufus T. Firefly's.

Interestingly, though, it was Dan Flahive in the normally subdued part of Signor Baptista who put forth the funniest and certainly most professional performance. Khaos Company Theatre should do all it can to retain his talents.

Khaos Company Theatre mainstage, Aug. 8, 14, 15. Clifford Corner's Building, 3125 E. 10th St., Suite K, $18,

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