Kiss Me, Kate | Short Review

Julia Rank
Wednesday, June 19, 2024

The classic Cole Porter musical starring Stephanie J Block and Adrian Dunbar is currently playing at the Barbican Theatre in London

Stephanie J Block with Adrian Dunbar (images credit: Johan Persson)
Stephanie J Block with Adrian Dunbar (images credit: Johan Persson)

Summer weather seems to have finally arrived, along with Bartlett Sher’s lavish production of Cole Porter’s backstage classic Kiss Me, Kate. Sher isn’t a director known for boldly revisionist interpretations of the classics and this show makes for a lovely evening, even if it is only fitfully scintillating.

Broadway diva Stephanie J Block is sheer class as Lilli Vanessi/Kate. Line of Duty star Adrian Dunbar is not wunderbar vocally or in terms of chemistry with Block, but he conveys the harassed actor-manager side of the character well. Current cover star Charlie Stemp and Georgina Onuorah bring plenty of pep as Bill Calhoun/Lucentio and Lois Lane/Bianca. And Jack Butterworth, leading ‘Too Darn Hot’, seems poised to be a future leading man.

Production credits

Kiss Me, Kate by Cole Porter (music, lyrics) and Sam and Bella Spewack (book)

Barbican Theatre, London, 8 June 2024

Starring Stephanie J Block, Adrian Dunbar, Charlie Stemp, Georgina Onuorah, Hammed Animashaun, Nigel Lindsay, Peter Davison, Josie Benson, Jack Butterworth et al

Directed by Bartlett Sher

Kiss Me, Kate runs until 14 September 2024 – for more information and tickets, visit

Read Julia Rank’s full review in our August/September issue, on sale 26 July 2024 – consider subscribing today!