Queensland Theatre’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy The Taming of the Shrewis bursting with life and humour, but leaves its promise to “rescue this classic love story from the clutches of controversy” unfulfilled.

Queensland Theatre's Taming of the Shrew Claudia Ware, Anna McGahan, John McNeill and Nicholas Brown in Queensland Theatre’s  Taming of the Shrew. Photo © Brett Boardman

Directed by Damien Ryan, this production places Shakespeare’s shrew in the silent movie era. Baptista is a movie mogul, and his youngest daughter Bianca is his star. Suitors are lining up to wed Bianca, but Baptista has declared that Bianca cannot marry until her older sister is wed – Katharina, a wilful and outspoken woman, and the titular shrew.

Determined to fight for Bianca’s hand in marriage, a number of her suitors enlist naval captain Petruchio to woo Katharina, with the promise that he will become a wealthy man through the marriage. Petruchio is as wild and unpredictable as Katharina, and he declares it his mission to “tame” her into a good and obedient wife.

Ryan’s adaptation adds refreshing depth to the...