- David Zak
BRIDGERTON'S garden party is high-spirited fun.
A shrewd West End producer should immediately announce Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew starring Jonathan Bailey and Simone Ashley. In Bridgerton Season two, Kate and Petruchio's schtick is fine-tuned to perfection, as the two stars hate, woo, and desire each other with hilarious and heartbreaking results.
Netflix/Shondaland's version of BRIDGERTON is an elegant garden party with a menu and team that may be an acquired taste. It requires a suspension of disbelief, a willingness to play along, and a hungering for love stories that are too good to be true but juicy enough to induce smiles and tears.
The cast is beautiful, the parties burst with exquisitely costumed extras carrying elaborate food and drink, and the music is today's pop songs arranged for period string quartets. The gardens, woods, palaces, and conservatories will inspire a trip to the UK. It may sound unwieldy, but you will enjoy the ride if you have the spirit. And the lovemaking - if and when they get to it - is steamy.
The Bridgerton family is enormous, and in season 2, we see how their father's untimely death impacted them. Bailey plays Lord Anthony Bridgerton, the eldest, whose dreams and spirit darkened when he stepped into the responsibilities needed to provide for his mother and siblings. He looks great in his elegant costumes, from his knee-high boots to his ascot. He is at times seen out of costume completely.
With Anthony carrying the burdens of the family, the other siblings are scamps and free spirits. Benjamin (Luke Thompson) aspires to be an artist; Colin (Luke Newton) has traveled the world. Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor), whose scandalous romance rocked the world in Season 1, returns as a young mother to provide wisdom.
When Edwina Sharma (Charithra Chandran) arrives, Anthony knows a marriage to her would be practical and correct. Ashley plays Kate, her protective sister, and guardian. And you know what they say about the course of true love.
I did enjoy the subplot of free spirit Eloise (Claudia Jessie) and her adventures in the poorer parts of town. Ruth Gemmel, as Lady Bridgeton, has fantastic scenes this season that showcase her immense talent.
I am less enamored of the scheming of the Queen, Lady Danbury, and the other connivers. Nor do I can much about the Lady Whistledown subplot.
But I tolerate those only to get back to Kate and Andrew! If a Shrew were to star these two, I am ready to purchase a ticket!