Theatre: The Taming of the Shrew

Christopher Sly, a beggarly tinker, falls asleep drunk, having been thrown out of an ale-house. A lord takes him into his house and plays a trick involving the pretence that Sly is a lord himself, for whose benefit a company of players will act The Taming of the Shrew. The main action then commences. Fortune-hunting Hortensio, rich old Gremio and newly-arrived-in-town Lucentio all wish to court beautiful Bianca, but she cannot marry before her older sister, shrewish Kate. Petruchio vows to woo Kate both for her dowry and for the challenge of overcoming her fearsome reputation. Hortensio and Lucentio gain access to Bianca by disguising themselves as tutors, while Lucentio's servant Tranio plays the role of his master. Petruchio marries Kate turning up late wearing the most unsuitable clothes imaginable and takes her off to his country house, where he 'tames' her through various forms of deprivation. Tranio persuades a travelling schoolteacher to pretend to be Lucentio's father Vincentio in order to give assurance of Lucentio's financial means; there is confusion when the real Vincentio turns up, but the love-match between Lucentio and Bianca is happily settled. Hortensio marries a wealthy widow and Petruchio and Kate return to reveal that she is a changed woman.

Petruchio.......................Peter O'Toole
Katharina.......................Peggy Ashcroft
Bianca..........................Elizabeth Sellars
Wench..........................Diana Rigg

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