Kiss Me Kate was an amazing production. The sets were intricate and beautiful, the dance numbers were exuberant, and as always, the acting was superb. Almost every actor played more than one part throughout the show, and the distinctions between roles were clear and well done. Lucy Given, Liam Keenan, and Alexi Lewis gave especially great vocal performances.
However, I feel that a different play would have better showcased the actors’ talents. The plot line of Kiss Me Kate was confusing, and unfortunately revolved around an abusive and sexist relationship.
Of course, these issues need exposure, but in the context of this play they were presented as comical and trivial, and even went so far as to say that women ‘secretly enjoy’ being beaten. The final romantic ballad declared that women must be meek and place their hearts under the heel of their man’s boot.
For many in the audience, the scenes of domestic violence must have been difficult to stomach, as many families have a history of similar abuse. I was personally shocked to see a woman being repeatedly hit on stage while people around me in the audience laughed, either out of discomfort or just plain insensitivity.
Perhaps it is a testament to how far we’ve come that some can view these issues as trivial, but the truth is that violence and sexism are still huge issues today, and it was somewhat offensive to see them presented as a legitimate viewpoint on the Roosevelt stage.