DRONFIELD: Kiss Me, Kate is wunderbar

Richard Carlin and Jenny Bingham in Kiss Me, Kate at Dronfield Civic Hall.
Richard Carlin and Jenny Bingham in Kiss Me, Kate at Dronfield Civic Hall.

With the eyes of the world on royal mum-to-be Kate Middleton, a musical theatre company couldn’t have chosen a more fitting show to perform.

Their Kate is in the spotlight in Dronfield this week, where she even goes through the motions of chidbirth, albeit much briefer and less painful than the real deal.

She’s a stylish Kate who gives Prince William’s wife a run for her money in the wardrobe department but her shrew-like behaviour in public is far removed from genteel royal decorum.

Her unladylike conduct is essential to the theme of musical comedy Kiss Me, Kate which revolves around a fiery-tempered actress reunited with her ex-husband in a production of The Taming of the Shrew.

The show contains some of Cole Porter’s best-known creations, including Another Op’nin Another Show, Too Darn Hot, and Brush Up Your Shakespeare.

Delivering the goods in style are members of Woodseats Musical Theatre Company whose production ticks all the boxes marked exciting, vivacious and entertaining.

Jewel coloured costumes light up the stage at Dronfield Civic Hall, ladies in silky underwear turn up the heat and there’s even a flash of stocking and suspender as the lead characters tussle on a table.

Jenny Bingham gives a wonderful performance as leading lady Lille Vanessi, her character shifting from a paragon of elegant serenity to a vile-tempered vixen lobbing plant pots and a three-legged stool (all expertly caught by their targets) in the show within a show.

Richard Carlin was born to play the role of theatre director Fred Graham. His outstanding singing, particularly in Where Is the Life That Late I Led?, defies any woman not to fall in love with that voice.

Jenny and Richard’s on-stage chemistry has its foundation in a heart-warming performance of Wunderbar and builds to boiling point in fiery and physical exchanges as their characters rehearse the Shakespeare play.

Danielle Smith gives a marvellous portrayal of the leading man’s new squeeze, flirty Lois Lane who she models on Marilyn Monroe. Playing opposite her, Adam Walker makes a fine job of the unlucky gambler Bill Calhoun.

In his first show with the company, musical director Chris Lucas has as much fun leading his orchestra as he does encouraging the audience to join in with the finger-clicking intro to Too Darn Hot.

Directed by Mary Newey, this red-hot show fizzes with sparkling choreography by Hayley Twigg, assisted by Jamie Cooke.

Kiss Me Kate, runs until Saturday, June 22, with performances at 7.30pm and a Saturday matinee at 2pm. Tickets £9; contact 01246 290499.

GAY BOLTON