Titus Andronicus

26 Sep

And so I went to a blood bath in a lounge room.

Titus Andronicus is a classic revenge story. It was a huge hit in Elizabethan times. And it works now, especially with smart choices.

It’s also intriguing because of what it suggests about Shakespeare’s practice.

Is the scheming Aaron the Moor a test run for Iago? (And, if so, note the reversal of the ethnicity of the characters in Othello. Did Shakespeare go on to develop a conscience regarding his presentation of particular races? Is it simply that he realised there was more dramatic potential in making a member of a minority group the central character in a tragedy?)

Is Titus a trial run for Hamlet? (In both plays there’s a much put upon hero who feigns madness until the time is right. Or wrong, as is the case in tragedy.)


This production’s all female cast is a fascinating decision. Playing against expectation, it energizes and challenges. Director Caitlin Scarr has elicited terrific performances from the entire team. Jacki Mison as Titus is brilliant. Lauren Orrell as Tamora is captivating, and appropriately threatening.

Leah Winterton’s performance as Lavina is particularly moving. The violence done to her is horrific. Shakespeare’s decision to show us the consequences is one of the most confronting moments in his whole body of work.

And here it is in a lounge room.

Well, not really. But the Glebe Café Church Space is warm and comfortable, replete with couches and soft lighting.

And so, for me, this production poses a vital question, and puts it out there bravely:

How tolerant are we of violence?

Veronica Kaye

Titus Andronicus

Glebe Café Church Space

Two performances remaining: Fri 27 Sept and Sat 28 Sept


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