I went to see Derby LIVE’s production of the Taming of the Shrew last night. It was a great evening out and the Guardian’s review makes nearly all of the points about it that I’d want to, except that they’ve been a little mean in the number of stars awarded – it was definitely worth 4, if not 5!
It’s on until the 25th February, so there’s still just about time to catch it if you want to. And you really should. If you have any kind of decency in you, you’ll feel very, very uncomfortable by the time the curtain falls – even though (and probably because) there are plenty of laughs along the way.
Sadly, this play marks the last Derby produced piece of professional theatre for the foreseeable future. Derby LIVE, launched with such a fanfare three or so years ago after the sad demise of the Derby Playhouse, has now also lost its Arts Council funding which had amounted to some £2million+ over the last three years. However, it would appear that very few people in Derby seem to care all that much – there must have been fewer than 200 people present last night in an auditorium with seating for 500 or so. When it was still Derby Playhouse audience numbers seemed much more healthy – particularly at a weekend.
Derby Theatre (the building) carries on of course, but their programme seems to be a largely unappetising mish-mash of short run touring productions. But I do hope they do well enough for Derby University to keep the building open. At least that way there is some hope of locally produced professional theatre returning at some time in the future.
If the theatre gets turned into shops of course, then there is no hope at all.