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Kiss Me, Kate (2003) Blu-ray Review

Kiss Me Kate Blu-ray

Strong performances carry “Kiss Me, Kate.”  

In this 2003 London production of the 1999 revival of “Kiss Me, Kate,” the show within a show story revolves around a full of himself director/actor/producer (Fred Graham) putting on a musical performance of “The Taming of the Shrew” in Baltimore. As if that wasn’t enough pressure for Fred, he is co-starring with his celebrity ex-wife Lilli Vanessi. Naturally, tempers and past feelings begin to rise up to the surface as their behind-the-scenes dynamic begins to spill over into the play. Worse still, one of the performer’s debts have been put on Fred leaving two gangsters to confront him about the money.

One would think the music and lyrics by Cole Porter would be enough to make “Kiss Me, Kate” a winner, but really, it’s the performances that make this production so rewarding. Granted, there are plenty of memorable tunes including “Tom, Dick, or Harry” and “Always True To You In My Fashion,” but they wouldn’t have been as memorable without the actors and actresses belting the tunes out. Normally, you can single out one or two cast members from a Broadway show as being the stand-outs, but that’s not the case here. Everyone is excellent. Rachel York (despite her weird screaming) shines as Vanessi and plays off of the Fred Graham character quite well. Speaking of Fred, Brent Barrett not only excels as the egocentric character, but showcases an impressive set of pipes to boot. Nancy Kathryn Anderson is the clear scene stealer of the show as the ditzy and sexual Lois Lane/Bianca. Michael Berresse doesn’t have too many scenes as Bill but he shows off some fantastic acrobatics in his “Bianca” number. Finally, there’s Teddy Kempner and Jack Chissick as the two amusing well read gangsters.

I’d be remiss if I also didn’t mention that the book by Sam and Bella Spewack is quite clever. Sure there are moments that drag (the “Too Darn Hot” number really feels like filler), but overall, it’s a very clever show within a show/life imitates art musical.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.78:1 1080p. How does it look? The Blu-ray disc certainly offers up more clarity for this stage production. No complaints with this transfer.

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? The sound could be a bit bigger. This is a musical after all. The sound should have more oomph.

No extras have been included on this Shout! Broadway release.

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May 31, 2017 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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