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The Taming of the Shrew

Tron Theatre, Glasgow Four stars
When boy meets girl in Shakespeare’s frothy but terminally unreconstructed rom-com, the so-called happy ending has always been at best questionable. Jo Clifford’s gender-bending new reading of the story of how Katherina learnt to succumb to Petruchio’s will proceeds to turn the play’s world upside down, break every rule going and run with it to make a whirlwind piece of queer-core cabaret inspired subversion.
Here, Katherina is a boy, a bratty swot with ideas above his station and a serious attitude problem. Kate isn’t at all like his himbo brother Bianca, who only wants to serve the women who run the world as they woo him into willing submission. Petruchio, meanwhile, is a woman who, enjoying the challenge of Kate’s resistance to her charms, is on a mission, and won’t put up with any of Kate’s nonsense, no matter how much he refuses to put out.
Over a rollicking 75 minutes, Michael Fentiman’s co-production between the Tron and their enterprising fellow …
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Romeo and Juliet

Theatre Royal, Glasgow Four stars
Everything is council estate grey in Erica Whyman’s streetwise Royal Shakespeare Company revival of Shakespeare’s teenage gang-based tragedy, in Glasgow for the final leg of its UK tour. The brutalist steel and breezeblock backdrop of Tom Piper’s set lends the play a contemporary harshness heightened even more by the babble of criss-crossing young voices who stab out the play’s prologue like a weapon.
Once things calm down, we move downtown, where, on the frontline, the Capulets and the Montagues’ unspecified beef has become a hand-me-down accessory for local youth in search of a sense of belonging and a cause to call their own, however misguided they may be in their bid to join the grown-ups.
It’s this adolescent craving for attention and to be taken seriously that fires the play here, with inter-gang bantz led by Charlotte Josephine’s motor-mouthed Mercutio as he, Benvolio and Afolabi Alli’s matinee idol Romeo attempt to crash the Capulets’ big party a…

Nora: A Doll’s House

Tramway, Glasgow Five stars
Three women walk through different doors at the start of Stef Smith’s revolutionary reimagining of Henrik Ibsen’s nineteenth century meditation on women, men and power. It is as if they have broken through the frames that captured their once still lives to map out a brand new story for themselves in colours of rage, making history as they go.
This is just the first act of liberation in Smith’s version of the play, which puts three Noras from crucial moments in that history onstage in the first play in the Citizens Theatre’s Citizens Women season. In an equally crucial move, the three actresses who play Nora in 1918, 1968 and 2018 double up to become different versions of Nora’s former best friend Christine.
With the men who control them similarly represented down the ages, Smith’s device exposes just how little has changed over the last century in terms of everyday domestic abuse. As the women are blackmailed emotionally, intellectually and sexually into sorti…