THE York International Shakespeare Festival has been an invigorating success, taking in everything from Japanese kabuki and an all-female Romeo & Juliet to Shakespeare in sheds, pub gardens, hip-hop, council chambers, churches and Catalonian puppetry.

If festivals should stretch audience and subject alike, Two Gents Productions’ snappy two-hander certainly did that.

The touring company highlight migration and displacement in their Shakespeare adaptations, in this case performed by African actors Kudzi Hudson and Sibusiso Mamba, who presented Shrew as a play within a play.

This added considerably to the comedy in the tradition of seats-of-their-pants companies defying the odds by somehow pulling off a “makeshift” performance with minimal resources.

Wearing rehearsal clothing, rather than costumes, and using only two chairs, no props and basic lighting, Hudson and Mamba stepped in and out of assorted characters, asked audience questions for guidance, sent up the complexities of Shakespeare and requested assistance to steer them through the serpentine plot.

Yet amid the bare-footed comedy jesting and (organised) chaos, coupled with the humorous possibilities released by having her play Petruchio to his Kate, they were making more serious points in Two Gents’ study of gender roles, marriage and above all, oppression.

Come the finale, the “playing around” had given way wholly to the original play, no longer a laughing matter.