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Review (2004)

The 2004 Abbie Awards honored the following actors from The Taming of the Shrew

Lead Actor (Non-Musical)
Nathan Jerkins, Nominee, for Petruchio


Shakespeare comes alive with new ‘Shrew’
By Brien Murphy / Reporter-News Staff Writer
July 9, 2004

Don’t see ”The Taming of the Shrew” at the Abilene Shakespeare Festival just because admission is free.

See it because William Shakespeare’s much-lauded language is never more alive than in the hands of a capable cast.

In Shakespeare’s comedy, directed by Nathan Jeffrey and presented at Abilene Christian University, the father of two young women will not let popular, pretty Bianca (Paula Wood) accept any suitors until her older, often ill-tempered sister Kate (Veronica Matta) attracts a man.

One of the bevy of Bianca’s suitors in dry dock convinces his friend Petruchio (Nathan Jerkins) to woo Kate so Bianca can go on the market. With little to work with, Petruchio ”tames” the wild Kate by giving her the respect and attention she rarely gets in her sister’s shadow. He also starts acting childish to show Kate how immature her behavior can be toward others.

Giving his best performance of the 2003-04 theater season, Jerkins plays the adventurous, worldly Petruchio as a braggart – amiable and fun to be with, but also fond of his own loud voice.

Kate, who throws tantrums and fruit with equal aplomb, whips her diminutive body around the stage, lashing out at the many people who insult her. This leads to slapstick, physical comedy – particularly when she takes on much larger opponents. However, a sword fighting scene at Thursday’s opening-night performance featuring Matta and Jerkins could have been crisper.

Sandy Freeman and the costume crew quietly do wonderful work for most ACU plays. They did it again, finding lush colors for the numerous costumes.