Titus Andronicus

Shakespeare's bloody and infamous tragedy is a popular choice for many companies, so that new and interesting interpretations are vital for a production to stand out. Tripped Theatre's vision of Titus Andronicus has tried just that with a stylised and edgy production, at the cost of sacrificing the power and story of the play.

This production is bold in its ideas and shows promise at the start with its glaring white set and striking tableau.

It is absolutely necessary to cut the text for a Fringe production, but in many cases these cuts and edits are simply careless. The first thing we notice is that Aaron the Moor has been removed. Though this is a major chunk of the story, the decision may still have worked if characters hadn't mentioned the "barbarous Moor" on a number of occasions.

Another artistic decision was to make the character of Lavinia, Titus' only daughter, male. It is a very bold decision and I feel that it could have been effective if the production was trying to make a strong statement about male rape or homophobia. However neither of these points were made (at least clearly) and it seemed to be nothing more than a decision to make the production different with absolutely no artistic merit. What made this worse was the inconsistency of the script. All of the actors refer to Lavinia as "he" "she" "him" and "her," yet he is always referred to as "brother." Either this is an artistic decision that makes no sense or sheer shoddiness on the part of editing.

There are moments of very strong performance from the actors, but Demetrius, Lucius and Saturninus all seem to mumble throughout the show and many of the lines are barely comprehensible. Titus starts out very strong with a good command in his voice, yet throughout the production there is very little variety or emotion in his performance, even when trying to convince Tamora he is mad! For such a complex character, a full descent into madness and bloodlust is necessary, yet we saw neither of these in this production and it therefore had very little impact at all.

This production is bold in its ideas and shows promise at the start with its glaring white set and striking tableau. However, it soon becomes evident that some pointless artistic decisions hinder any power coming through in this performance, leaving it rather underwhelming.

Reviews by Alex Hargreaves

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Performances

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The Blurb

Tripped Theatre returns once more to the Fringe with a stripped back production of Shakespeare's bloodiest revenge tragedy in a glamorous and deliciously filthy adaptation that will thrill, revolt and force you to simultaneously love and loathe the flock of flawed characters it portrays. Titus comes back from war as a damaged and reluctant celebrity forced into his nation's limelight, but his dreadful thirst for revenge sends him and his enemies on a vicious spiral into madness and destruction. This captivating monochrome production proves that this tragedy is much more than simply black and white.

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