Gillian English isn’t the biggest fan of one of the world’s most beloved playwrights. In fact, she thinks William Shakespeare is a bit of a hack (and she’s got the credentials to prove it). And, after sitting through what may have been the most entertaining semi-lecture on Shakespearean works and the misogyny that lies within his various plays, most of the audience seemed to be humming along the same tune.
10 Things I Hate About the Taming of the Shrew has been written to absolutely rip apart both the classic play and the much beloved 90’s classic film. The great thing is though, English is absolutely right. Both these narratives deserve to be torn apart. Throughout the night English pinpoints ten key elements throughout the story that really do highlight the anti-feminist traits that are somehow portrayed as ‘romantic’.
Loud and in charge may be the best words to describe English herself: she’s angry, and she doesn’t care who knows. This is a great persona to be bringing to the stage late on a Saturday night. The 9.30pm time of the show saw many audience members trudging in tiredly, possibly on their third show of the night and seventh glass of wine. Any exhaustion that may have been in the room disappeared the moment English took to the stage, declaring loudly that she hated William Shakespeare with all her heart. She is unabashedly furious about the anti-feminist notions adapted into so-called ‘romantic comedies’ – twisting the audience up into an understanding of the same anger as realisation sets in about the room.
English knows how to keep a crowd entertained – the entire set cleverly works in jokes amongst some very real facts (and she’s got a student debt and self declared ‘useless masters’) to prove it. Unfailing in her rants, the audience was continually laughing throughout – with a many surprised snort coming from various seats at a particularly expected quip.
10 Things I Hate About the Taming of the Shrew is a very cleverly done educational comedy show. You’re going to laugh, and leave in amusement – but you’re also going to leave with a newly developed and unexpected dislike of William Shakespeare.
10 Things I Hate About the Taming of the Shrew is showing at The Malthouse Theatre from the 28th March – 21st April as part of the 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tickets can be purchased at the box office or via the comedy festival website.