A LETTER FROM LONDON: Merrily We Roll Along, Privates on Parade, Constellations, Kiss Me, Kate and More

By Ruth Leon
03 Jan 2013

Alex Bourne and Hannah Waddingham in Kiss Me, Kate.
Photo by Alastair Muir

ThursdayKiss Me, Kate at the Old Vic. I've never met a grown-up human being who didn't adore Kiss Me, Kate. Sam and Bella Spewak's dazzling script, Cole Porter's unbeatable songs, divas, gangsters, dancing, jokes, and even Shakespeare make Kiss Me, Kate all that it is. A touring theatre company, on the brink of disaster, is mounting a musical production of The Taming of the Shrew. The impresario and leading man, Fred Graham, has brought in his ex-wife, Lili, to play Katharine to save the company's fortunes and the spats between them form the show's backbone. As Katharine/Lili, Hannah Waddingham is marvelous — her burnished soprano suddenly changing to belt and back — and Alex Bourne, new to me, is a fine foil as her Fred. As pure fun, this is the most entertaining show in London.