Luxembourg. 141 light bulbs. Are 141 light bulbs enough to bring you back to the 40‘s? Well, if you add to the picture some grey gilets, red brick walls wrapped up with street smoke, flower decorated wallpapers and if those 141 light bulbs were brightening the sign of the Ford’s Theater ready to welcome the spectator even before the beginning of the show, here you have it: the 40‘s have already gained the center of the scene. Just when the sign of the Ford’s Theater is slowly lifted up the stage, the magic begins!
In coproduction with the Théâtre du Châtelet, where this production premiered already in February 2016, the Grand Théâtre of Luxembourg presents the musical “Kiss me, Kate”. The original Broadway production of this show dates back to 1948; the atmosphere at the Grand Théâtre last Thursday, was just as entertaining. The plot is already widely known and sees Fred Graham – the actor David Pittsinger – who is facing his ex-wife Lilli Vanessi – Christine Buffle – on stage while working in the same theatrical troupe to prepare Shakespeare’s work “The taming of the Shrew”. The story unfolds through the usual game of misunderstandings that feeds Fred and Lilli’s continuous love fight.
The original irresistible score by Cole Porter leads the audience to a dimension where the boundary between story and story within the story becomes gradually blurry. It is so easy to fall in the whirlwind of colors and catchy tunes that have made this musical renowned. The charm lasts for almost 2,5 hours. The length of the show, however, is certainly not an issue when the production is able to provide such a high level performing. The sparkling lights, the setting and the choreography conquer the spectator up to the point where the antifeminist references in the play appear less unmistakable.
A distinct role is played by the scenography. It is incredibly dynamic and well made, from the smallest detail to the big installation. It dances its own dance, blending harmoniously with the entire choreography throughout the show.
All these components add their little something to the atmosphere that makes the whole show irresistible. And what seemed to be only a background – almost a claim to build a love story – becomes little by little one of the main themes carrying the show. What is clear is that Shakespeare is not just a claim: he is constantly referred to with quotes and allusions; he is there, peeking into the story while it unfolds. Till the very end, when Martyn Ellis and Daniel Robinson – showcasing brilliant performances – amuse and surprise the audience with their personal and almost never ending love tribute: “Brush up your Shakespeare”!