Review: Regional Premiere of 'The Taming' at Shakespeare & Company

Angelica Potter

  • OnStage Massachusetts Critic

LENOX, MA - The Taming, wittily written by Lauren Gunderson, is an entertaining, eccentric comedy that brings together an ambitious beauty queen with two headstrong, political opposites in a way that will have you laughing throughout. Miss Georgia, the night before the Miss USA pageant, decides that in order to make her dream of rewriting the constitution a reality she must lock herself in her hotel room with a liberal activist blogger and a conservative Senate staffer and forge an alliance between the parties. Sounds amusing, doesn’t it? And that’s only the beginning!  

Wonderfully directed by Nicole Ricciardi the three fantastic females in this cast work together with great chemistry and comedic timing. As dialect coach, Susan Cameron, honed the ladies’ accents, each magnificently executed and perfectly fitting their characters. Maddie Jo Landers plays the determined Miss Georgia, Katherine; Tangela Large plays the career focused conservative, Patricia and Lucy Lavely plays the eccentric liberal activist, Bianca. The actors were completely committed to the characters they played with each line and movement deliberate and purposeful. The subtle nuances and gestures of each character were clear and precisely placed amongst the boisterous banter in each scene. Even as they portrayed other personalities in a trip back in time, (thanks to some powerful, medicinal water guns) their incredible talent and understanding of the text continued to impress the consistently chuckling audience. Though these ladies are making their Shakespeare and Company debuts with this play it will certainly not be the last we see of them. 

Photo Credit: Lucy Lavely, Maddie Jo Landers, Tangela Large. Photo by Enrico Spada.

Photo Credit: Lucy Lavely, Maddie Jo Landers, Tangela Large. Photo by Enrico Spada.

The show was not only fantastic because of the work done on stage, but also because of the work behind the scenes before it opened. Set designer John McDermott did a great job creating a functional and easily transitioned set. I especially loved the red, white and blue Mylar curtain that enclosed much of the set at the top of the show. Sound designer Amy Altadonna brought life to each scene with subtle sound effects such as the “Twitter bird”. Nicely designed lighting and costumes, by James Bilnoski and Esther Van Eek, rounded out the well done technical aspects of this production. 

If you find yourself in the Berkshires and in need of a good laugh go on over to Shakespeare and Company and enjoy this 90 minute hilariously relevant play. The Taming is playing in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre until July 30th, 2016.  Tickets and more information on the can be found at

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