After challenging the fourth wall in the beginning, Joseph Arkley, in the eponymous role, stood with his two feet firmly planted on the edge of a desk, not moving until the closing moments of the show. This is a rather difficult stance for a solo performer to take in any show, particularly in one that is meant to appeal to children. However, despite Arkley’s unmoving stance he still managed to create a completely compelling performance. Titus is a ten year old boy, a charismatic individual and a compulsive liar. His impossible dreams and wishes balanced against the oppressive reality of real life play out in this rather touching show.
Arkley was an incredibly engaging performer, utilising his voice, face and upper body to their utmost as he related this English translation of Jan Sorbie’s work. We simultaneously become aware of what a little terror Titus must seem to all the adults who surround him as well as being moved by his warmheartedness and imaginative wit. It is perhaps for this reason that the performance that I went to had so many adults in it, all of them ready to be moved by Titus and his innocent idealistic belief in the impossible. Although superficially this may be a tale for children, the real audience is the adults, who will probably believe far more in Titus’s love for Tina. The only children in the show were a group of foreign exchange pupils. Although they were most amused by Titus’ cruder moments, it was difficult to engage them for the entire length of the show. While adults may be enchanting by anything that smacks of this childish innocence and idealism, it is far harder to romanticise it when you are that age yourself. This is thus children’s show that, while the kids may enjoy it, is one for the adults really.