THE second offering in Emma Rice’s inaugural season as artistic director at the Globe is The Taming Of the Shrew.
Directed by Caroline Byrne it features an all Irish cast who take on Shakespeare’s “problem play” head on.
It is a spirited production which is set against the backdrop of the 1916 Easter Rising, when demands for equal status for women were being made. The fact that these demands were subsequently ignored gives the historical context and highlights the brutal "taming" of Katherine by her husband.
Aoife Duffin, who stepped in at the last minute to play Katherine, does a wonderful job in showing her defiance, pain, and strong character. This is a woman who is at first strong, independent, spirited, angry and up for a fight and rails against those who would tame her.
But over the course of the play she shows how worn down she becomes, physically, mentally and emotionally by the relentless onslaught of Edward MacLiam's Petruchio to whom she is forced to marry.
By the end of the play she is a shadow of her former self and her humiliation is devastating to watch.
Despite this Petruchio shows at times a softer side, almost as though he just wants to love her and not demean her.
It is an incredible production, gripping and intense and full of themes that will resonate today - equality, domestic abuse and sexism.
And although Kate's final speech is devastating in that we see how much she and her spirit have been crushed, it is tinged with a ray of hope and a message of how we should carry on the fight for equality and against domestic abuse.
Taming Of The Shrew is on at Shakespeare’s Globe until August 6. Tickets from £5. Visit http://www.shakespearesglobe.com/ or call the box office on 020 7401 9919 for full listings.