For this go-round, Petruchio (Andy Grotelueschen) comes to now-Westernized Padua looking to “wive it weathily” and fixes his intentions on Katharina Minola (Maggie Siff), whose reputation for being a bundle of ignited dynamite precedes her and whose disinclination to marry means much-pursued younger and sweeter sister Bianca (Kathryn Saffell) has to wait her turn for who-knows-how-long. While various shenanigans are set in motion by secondary figures, Petruchio goes about putting things right.
Last seen playing both hero and villain in the Fiasco company’s Cymbeline, the superb Grotelueschen is much more effective here and gives evidence he’s a homegrown Shakespearean with a big future. A decidedly substantial-looking fellow — bearded with a bald spot in his hair that blows about like tumbleweed — Grotelueschen takes command by dint of his complete affability. He speaks the poetry so naturally, it seems as if he’s expressed himself this way from birth.
Giving this Petruchio almost as good–or as bad–as she gets, Siff has the kind of piercing eyes that make men cower at the sight of her. Equally importantly, she’s convincing as a woman who saves time by throwing the hems of her clothes over her shoulder and climbing ladders to get where she wants to be.