Synetic Theater broke the mold for the eighth time with its production of “The Taming of the Shrew” in its Silent Shakespeare series.
Expectations were high in the house since the recent Helen Hayes nominations revealed that Synetic’s recent production of “King Lear,” also a part of the “Silent Shakespeare” series, gained the physical theater an incredible 15 nominations.
This was no traditional Elizabethan production of Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew.” The entire story revolves around a celebrity family in contemporary Los Angeles, and how the father Baptista (Hector Reynoso) tries to marry off his eldest daughter Katherine (Irina Tsikurishvili).
When younger daughter Bianca (Irina Kavsadze) finds her love in Lucentio (Scott Brown) at the Victoria’s Secret-inspired fashion show where Katherine also happens to meet Petruchio (Ryan Sellers), the romantic comedy spirals from there.
“The Taming of the Shrew” is comedy that faces no limitation of time or location. This production also breaks the boundaries of communicating this complicated love story without a single spoken word.
The entire 90-minute performance is filled with dynamic dances and acrobatics all to the underscoring of lively music, some original to this production created under the sound design of Paata Tsikurishvili and Irakli Kavsadze.
The design of the show is breathtaking. The set consists of five large flats that were different textures on one side that caught the light, and the other side had beautiful paintings of them.
The simple design by Anastasia Simes really allows the action to speak for itself. Simes also designed the extravagant costumes that certainly supported the overly sexualized Hollywood aesthetic of the show.
The entire cast communicated the plot effectively. The only aspect of the story that may have been missed by someone not already familiar with the plot was the defined roles of all of the minor characters.
They all seemed to be in every scene and were the chorus in several of the large scenes, while in the traditional version they would be more minor roles.
It was an incredible ensemble performance which also justifies the frequent use of the minor roles of the show. This is one thing Synetic is known for and has won several Helen Hayes awards for having a strong ensemble.
The principle characters were also incredible in their roles. Irina Tsikurishvili, who is a cofounder of Synetic Theater and the resident choreographer, was a dynamic Katherine.
The only complaint that could be made about her performance is that she is on the verge of being too old for the role of Katherine.
Katherine is the oldest daughter and, in respect to tradition, should be married already, but it is not part of the plot that she is on her way to becoming an old maid. However, if one just looked at how Tsikurishvili moved, her age would not be a question.
The show was quite enjoyable. Synetic always provides a nontraditional theater experience and with the “Silent Shakespeare” series they allow their audiences to take in a variety of Shakespeare’s work in the least Shakespearean way possible.
“The Taming of the Shrew” will be running at the Lansburgh Theatre through April 22.