It would be unfair to spoil any surprises for future audiences so let’s just say that this play, and Simon Paisley Day in particular, proves very convincing right from the start.
Paisley Day makes a great Petruchio, with Lemmy-like facial hair, a swaggering physicality and an air of exasperation reminiscent of John Cleese as Basil Fawlty.
His is a brave performance, cheeky you might say, as, in the course of wooing Katherina he bares far more than just his soul.
And as for Kate… well, viewers of BBC2′s Grandma’s House will know, Samantha Spiro as Simon Amstell’s downtrodden, moustachioed aunt.
The contrast here could not be greater. Spiro’s Kate is a sleek, beautiful ball of fury who kicks doors down and terrorises any man who dares come near her.
This is an earthy, ferociously physical production. There’s plenty of verbal sparring, as you might expect, but there’s just as much in the way of actual fisticuffs.
Kate employs a rope, a whip and a headbutt as she torments her sister Bianca. The latter, a spirited Sarah MacRae, may act the put-upon victim when it suits her, but shows she can give as good as she gets when it comes to a physical fight.
Metal plates are sent clattering, food is flung and servants are smacked with spoons.
Spiro wields a broom as a weapon, and throws punches at male bystanders as she battles her way through the Globe’s groundlings.
Both principals have the big presence required to command the Globe stage and involve the whole audience. They also prove skilled at tugging the heartstrings in the story’s quieter, more tender moments, as Kate slowly succumbs to her husband’s particular brand of tough love.
There is uniformly strong support from the rest of the cast.
Among them, Jamie Beamish has scene-stealing quality as Tranio and Pearce Quigley gets plenty of laughs with his hangdog expression and laconic delivery as Grumio.
Tonight’s audience doesn’t wait for the curtain call to show its appreciation. The action is puncuated by applause and uproarious laughter throughout.
In the Tube on the way home I bump into a group of 20-something audience members buzzing with excitement at what they’ve just seen.
They tell me this was their first visit to the Globe. I have a feeling it won’t be their last.
The Taming of the Shrew is at the Globe Theatre until 13th October 2012 for more information or to book tickets please click here