Kiss Me Kate is “Wunderbar”


Sandhya Ganesan

Zain Faruqi and Grand Halibutyon sing “Wive it Wealthily in Padua” as they try to woo Katherine, played by Jenna Husli in the first act of “Kiss Me Kate.”

Katie Brubaker, Managing Editor

Kiss Me Kate, the play within a play put on by the Stallion Theatre Company, produced laughs, cheers, gasps of astonishment, and jaw-drops from audience members during the last two weeks. Through both the first and second acts, there truly was never a dull moment.

Kiss Me Kate is a production that follows a theatre company through their rehearsals and eventual touring of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Throughout their preparation period for their show, it is revealed that the director of the company, Fred Graham, who is also starring in the production, was once lovers with Lilli Vanessi, who is scheduled to play his lead opposite.  Due to this interesting dynamic, an onslaught of hilarious events and mischief follows.

Opening with a large song and dance number that included what looked to be the entirety of the cast, the stage was filled with flying colors and legs that seemed to never stop kicking. The cast had to take dance classes, and their efforts showed: many impressive partnering maneuvers were accomplished throughout the number.

In a following scene, Lila Holley who plays Hattie, an assistant to Lilli Vanessi, sings a song expressing the thrill that comes with getting ready for a show and then getting to perform in front of packed audiences. Holley, who recently played the lead role of Jo in Little Women, commanded complete control of the stage and sang with an immense amount of presence.

The ever changing and complicated dynamic between Zain Faruqi’s character, Fred Graham, and Jenna Husli’s character, Lilli Vanessi, was skillfully executed by the two actors.

While Graham and Vanessi share some sweet moments in the first act, everything abruptly shifts when Vanessi learns that a love letter, that she thought Graham had intended for her, was actually for a young actress named Lois Lane.

This discovery results in some hilarious chaos during the theatre company’s production of The Taming of the Shrew. Vanessi and Graham go back and forth yelling, poking, and prauding at one another for a large portion of the production. Faruqi’s impeccable comedic timing in the deliverance of his lines during these scenes resulted in many laughs from the audience.

During of The Taming of the Shrew production, Vanessi’s character Kate is encouraged by the rest of the cast to kiss Graham’s character. Due to the anger Vanessi feels for Graham at this point in the play, she refuses and playfully continues to sing how she will never kiss him. This moment, while extremely comical, displayed the immense vocal talent of Husli, who held both high and low notes with complete ease.

However, Vanessi does have a change of heart, and Graham is able to complete both The Taming of the Shrew and Kiss me Kate by Kissing Kate.