Summer assembly – The Taming of the Shrew

It may be hard to imagine ten year olds performing Shakespeare, but in this (admittedly simplified) version of the Bard’s controversial piece the action was gripping throughout.

Indeed it is admirable that in a few short weeks so many children can be marshalled into so many strands of the dramatic arts. Molly, Amelia and Francesca played violin; Beatrice was the cellist in a splendid golden frock, while Anna, Nick and Elizabeth made up a nicely medieval-seeming trio of recorder players.

The verse-speaking of Kaya and Fred as the suitors who disguise themselves as tutors was excellent: both clear and romantic in delivery. James did something amusing as a servant confined to bed – I was not sure what exactly – but he is a great comic hero to the younger children and has a natural gift for clowning.

There was some unintended comedy when Eli, a masterful Petruchio, galloped off-stage so fast on his hobby horse that his reluctant bride, Kate (Melanie) was obliged to mime the action at some distance behind.

It would be interesting to know whether any of the players objected strongly to the sentiments in the play. They acted their parts with such enjoyment, that the theme of historic sexism may not have crossed their minds. But then we parents, too, were guilty of being so thoroughly entertained that we gladly suspended our disapproval for a day.