TITUS ANDRONICUS – Stratford

In Opinion, Plays, Regional theatre, Reviews by Jonathan BazLeave a Comment


Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford upon Avon – until 2 September 2017

Blanche McIntyre strives to give an aura of political correctness to her take on the bloodiest of Shakespeare’s plays – but she misses the point. Titus Andronicus is always going to be more about its final act’s Imperial Bake-Off than it will ever be about the failings of society.

A lengthy mise-en-scene featuring masked social justice warriors protesting about “Austerity” drags the Roman setting to 21st century Britain. As an amuse-bouche it’s certainly well choreographed, (suggesting at times the Crapshooters’ Ballet from Guys and Dolls) but McIntyre protests too much, methinks. However hard a director’s moral compass may point her to dress up Titus Andronicus with a worthy polemic, one must remember that it remains little more than a 16th Century Carry On caper. Misogyny, mutilation, rape and murder drive the narrative, with a degree of violence that by today’s standards would be both offensive and gratuitous.

That’s not to say Titus Andronicus  shouldn’t be performed. It merits its