Opera North’s revival of Cole Porter’s rapturous 1948 Broadway musical Kiss Me, Kate is a phenomenal performance bursting with the perfect variety of classical and contemporary vocal tones to ensure the classic musical is portrayed in it’s timeless fashion.
Kiss me Kate is comedic backstage musical about a group of actors who are in a production of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Leading actor Fred Graham (Quirijn De Lang) has a complicated relationship with his ex wife Lilli Vanessi (Jeni Bern) after she mistakenly recieves flowers from him who were meant for young actress Lois Lane (Tiffany Graves).
The Shakespeare play being performed then gradually starts to reflect the lives of the actors, the tension between Fred and Lilli is then evident both on and off stage. It’s a complex show but Opera North pull it off remarkably.
The set is extravagant yet intricately designed to achieve the impressive staging Cole Porter’s classic deserves. The constant scene changes are done with precision and the transitions are slick, maintaining the pace of the production. Complete with the costumes, the musical itself is a visual masterpiece.
Cole Porter’s score is entrancing, a flawless mix of opera, musical theatre and jazz. Paired with Royal Ballet choreographer Will Tuckett’s excellent choreography, the numbers radiate vibrancy particularly during the jazzy opening number of the second act Too Darn Hot.
Quirijn De Lang’s portrayl of Fred Graham, the dashingly suave baritone, is everything you’d want in a leading man. A vocally demanding role that he excutes magnificently, a highlight being the hilarious Where Is the Life That Late I Led in which he commands the audience with his stage presence. Alongside him stars Jeni Bern who shines as the operatic soprano, a sensational tone that oozes fiery passion.
Tiffany Greaves steals the show with her performance of Lois Lane, she brings spice to the production, performing the seductive Always True To You- In My Fashion with sublime vocals and naturally sultry movement. She lightens the musical by bringing a more contemporary musical theatre feel to such a time-honoured show.
Ashley Day plays Bill Calhoun, a charming broadway hoofer that seduces Lois Lane. His rendition of Bianca is exceptional, complete with divine tap choreography.
Joseph Shovelton and John Savourin have the audience in fits of laughter throughout the show, playing the gunmen whom are out to collect an outstanding debt from Fred Graham. Their duet Brush Up Your Shakespeare has wit and faultless comedy timing.
Kiss me Kate is a production bursting with all the essential components of musical theatre. With an exemplary score, expressive set and smashing choreography, it is a faultless musical with a vocally outstanding cast, truly unmissable.
Kiss me Kate is at The Lowry until Saturday the 14th of November and tickets are available here.