Review: FIFTY SHADES OF SHREW Offers an Entertaining Combination of 'Taming of the Shrew' and 'Fifty Shades of Grey'

By: Jun. 08, 2015
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"Place your hands below your husband's foot?" Surely a controversial statement in Shakespeare's time, in today's world it is hopelessly misogynistic. Unless... What if Katharina is a submissive in search of her Dominant? What if Bianca is a Dom auditioning subs?

With the success of "Fifty Shades of Grey," BDSM is front and center in the public consciousness, but is still largely misunderstood. Broads' Word Theatre sets Shakespeare's outdated Taming of the Shrew in a BDSM dungeon, where the all-female cast investigates the dynamics of power and submission with a modern fearlessness.

Tell me... what is your fantasy?

Katharina (Jen Albert) is the older sister of Bianca (Tara Donovan). Although Bianca has several suitors - including Lucentio (Dana DeRuyck), Gremio (Marti Hale) and Hortensio (Esther Mira) - her father Baptista (Lacy Altwine) won't let her marry until the notoriously difficult Katharina finds a husband. Enter Petruchio (Dawn Alden), who embraces the challenge.

As a life-long lover of Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shew" and now a fan of the "Fifty Shades of Grey" trilogy, I was certainly wondering how the two could be combined. Well it appears to be much easier than I thought given the exciting new production of "Fifty Shades of Shrew" at the Lounge Theater. The all-female cast, most members of the Production Company Broads' Word Theatre, uses the Bard's exact text and makes it come alive in the most creative BDSM connotations possible by just using a different emphasis on words and actions that promote such fun activities as spanking, Master/Submissive games, handcuffs, and other elements which are discussed for the uninitiated by latex-clad Mistress Kara before the play begins.

Standouts in the cast are Dawn Alden as the overly macho Petruchio, Jen Albert as Master wanna-be Katharina, Lacy Altwine as huffy Baptista, and Marti Hale as Bianca's jilted suitor Gremio. Tara Donovan begins the show as apparently super submissive Bianca until she meets her match in Lucentio (Dana DeRuyck)and discovers how fun it is to lead him around. Quite comical and very fun to watch!

Special kudos to costumer Linda Muggeridge for her read and black themed BDSM wear including lots of leather corsets, vests, leggings and boots, and director Danielle Ozymandias for keeping the action moving along at a quick pace.

This comedy's cast is rounded out by Sylvia Loehndorf as Grumio, Shana Gregory as Tranio, Maikiko James as Biondello/Servant, Lisagaye Tomlinson as Curtis/Tailor/Vincentio and MarIan Gonzalez as Pedant/Widow.

Fifty Shades of Shrew is presented as part of the 2015 Hollywood Fringe Festival at the

Lounge Theatre 6201 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90038. Performances: Saturday, June 13th at 10pm, Sunday, June 14th at 4pm, Friday, June 19th at 8pm, Saturday, June 20th at 10pm, Sunday, June 21st at 4pm, and Saturday, June 27th at 10pm.

Find more information about Broads' Word Theatre and Fifty Shades of Shrew at

Photos by Silvia Spross

Petruchio (Dawn Alden), Katharina (Jen Albert)

Katharina (Jen Albert), Petruchio (Dawn Alden)

Vicentio (Lisagaye Tomlinson), Katharina (Jen Albert), Petruchio (Dawn Alden).

In back: Gremio (Marti Hale), Lucentio (Dana DeRuyck)

Hortensio (Esther Mira), Baptista (Lacy Altwine), Bianca (Tara Donovan)

Hortensio (Esther Mira), Bianca (Tara Donovan)

Bianca (Tara Donovan), Lucentio (Dana DeRuyck)

Vicentio (Lisagaye Tomlinson), Gremio (Marti Hale), Hortensio (Esther Mira), Lucentio (Dana DeRuyck),

Petruchio (Dawn Alden), Grumio (Sylvia Loehndorf)

Hortensio (Esther Mira), Gremio (Marti Hale)

Grumio (Sylvia Loehndorf), Petruchio (Dawn Alden)


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