1978: Michael Bogdanov production

The Taming of the Shrew (1978) Photo shows David Suchet as Grumio and Paola Dionisotti as Kate. Photo: Joe Cocks Collection © Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Michael Bogdanov directed this modern-dress production of The Taming of the Shrew which emphasised the patriarchal society of Padua and Petruchio's abuse of Katharine.

The production won the 1979 Olivier Award for Best Director.

The production began with a prologue so convincing that on more than one occasion, members of the audience left the auditorium to call the police! Once the house-lights went down, a drunk in the audience - later revealed to be Christopher Sly - started a commotion, then rampaged onto the stage and destroyed the set.

The rest of the play was Sly's dream - with actor Jonathan Pryce doubling as Petruchio. The action took place with the initial scenery ripped back to reveal bare walls and metalwork.

The show's cast would go on to become household names: Zoe Wannamaker was Bianca, Ian Charleson played Tranio, David Suchet was Petruchio's servant Grumio, and Juliet Stephenson and Ruby Wax both played servants.

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Photo shows David Suchet as Grumio and Paola Dionisotti as Kate in the RSC's 1978 production of The Taming of the Shrew.
Photo: Joe Cocks Collection © Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

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