By Veronika Kallus
A bloody awesome production. Blood-less actually – there is not a single drop of blood spilled on stage (which is quite an achievement when staging Shakespeare’s most violent play). And with references to so many movies and scenes that it is hard to keep track of them. Just one example? Tamora, the Queen of Goth, has been renamed. Why? – because that gives Titus the chance to shout her name in the most Star Trek iconic manner when the time comes!
This is Titus, but not as we know it. To fully understand the amount of thought and attention to detail that went into this light-on-the-surface play, one must know the original. As bloodthirsty and gruesome the original might be, it is also full of wit and sarcasm and ridicule.
This version by Sheep Theatre brings out the funniest in Titus Andronicus. It contains the main ingredients, is spiced up by song and silliness and baked into a tasty pie – much like the Goth Queen’s sons.
Throughout the performance you wonder what was first – the script or the performers. The actors could not have matched their parts any better than this. Obviously, the characters’ depth is lost in this comical rewriting – but for what remains (and for what is created anew), the cast is extraordinarily fitting.
Real Gothic Goths, a self-indulgent, Ustinov/Nero-like emperor and Asian-wisdom-quoting peace-loving still-living eldest sons keep the pace up and leave the audience in fits of laughter.
Sheep Theatre is a new company and this is their first appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe. It will be exciting to see with what they might return in the future.