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Arts and Entertainment

Shrewd Adaptation

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Long before Sami Brady, Erica Cane or Amanda Woodward sudsed their way into our pop culture, Shakespeare's headstrong shrew, Katharina, reigned supreme. Why all the bad soap references? Well, Shakespeare's plays essentially were mini soap operas. In The Taming of the Shrew, he gave us catfights, swapped identities, love triangles and more innuendoes than you could shake a stick at... wait, that came out wrong.

It's surprising then, that L.A. seems too hip to take on Shakespeare. Last night, LAist attended a special presentation of Taming of the Shrew at The Muse Theatre in Hollywood. We jumped at the opportunity to see something that wasn't a concert or movie screening. The only thing that disappointed us is that the cozy theatre wasn't packed.

LAist knows it's hard to sell the archaic dialogue. Moreover, updating a classic tale (a la Romeo + Juliet) is often a tricky affair. But the great acting in Much Ado About Nothing helped make it one of LAist's favorite adaptations. The same was true of Taming Of the Shrew.

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We were impressed by all the little details in Lars Tatom's adaptation. Yes, characters spoke in archaic vernacular. But they weren't clad in stuffy clothing. They wore diesel jeans, tempered sunglasses and designer sneakers. Subtle references to the Santa Ana winds, the inclusion of LA Weekly magazine and other West Coast references made us laugh. From the faux "A++" restaurant rating posted at the back of the stage, to the creative use of the theatre space, the direction and set design were balanced perfectly.