BWW Reviews: Slidell Little Theatre Presents KISS ME KATE

Slidell Little Theatre just ended its third weekend of performances for the comedy-musical-Shakespearean hybrid KISS ME KATE. The show is a play within a play, and centers around a group of actors who are attempting to put on Shakespeare's classic comedy THE TAMING OF THE SHREW (musical style), all while dealing with their complicated love lives and a couple of gangsters sent to the theater with an order to collect or kill.

It sounds like a hot mess, I know. But, allow me to convince you of why you should go see this production.

Aside from KISS ME KATE's brilliant score, written by Cole Porter (you should now be convinced), the script is enough to keep you bent over with laughter while at the same time presenting a slightly unconventional love story that can melt your heart. As a self-proclaimed Shakespeare junkie, what I love most about this show is that it introduces The Bard to audiences who otherwise may have never been exposed to his stories in an easy-to-understand way. And it's a musical. Does it get better than that?!

There were several elements of this particular production that I very much enjoyed. First was lead actress Stacie Eirich's (Katherine) hilarious rendition of "I Hate Men." Already a hysterical number, Eirich's goofy antics and overly dramatic spouts of anger had me in a fit of giggles. Watch Kathryn Grayson perform the same number from the 1953 movie version here.

As well, actors William J. Saussaye and Allen Bryant provided some laughs as the two gangsters. It seems as though whenever there are gangsters in old musicals, the characters tend to be slightly moronic, deliver great puns, finish each other's sentences, and have a weird balance between being bad guys but also sweet teddy bears. Saussaye and Bryant were no exception with their portrayals. These guys win my vote for best on-stage pairing.

The two ladies whose voices impressed me most were Ashley Krieger (Lois/Bianca) and Chrissy Miller (Hattie). Both strong voices, although very different from one another, I hope these ladies continue on in their musical theatre endeavors.

You really do need to have a cast full of what I like to call quadruple threats to put on this production. They have to act, sing, and dance of course. But they also have to speak Shakespearean tongue with ease. Bravo to this cast for tackling such a difficult piece!

KISS ME KATE runs through May 18th at Slidell Little Theatre. For tickets and more information, visit http://www.slidelllittletheatre.org/ or call (985) 643-0556 for the theatre lobby and (985) 641-0324 for reservations.



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