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Titus Andronicus

RSC Swan

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#11 Epicoene

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 02:04 PM

View Postmaggiem, on 14 June 2013 - 01:55 PM, said:

I saw it a couple of weeks ago and wondered how long it took to get all the tattoos on her arms (probably spray on!)

I'd never seen this play at all, although I did know it was the "bloody" one. For some reason I kept thinking 'two poodles in a pie', which is from the film "Theatre of Blood", and one of the essays in the programme made a reference to it.

Having seen "Timon of Athens" last year at the National, I'm still not sure which banquet was worse.

The NT one because it's not in the text (which says stones). Nicholas Hytner dreamt up the NT variant all on his own.

#12 xanderl

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 02:30 PM

The highlight of the Titus feast for me was
Spoiler

"witty ... both made me laugh but also gave me pause" - Mark Shenton, The Stage

#13 armadillo

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 06:29 AM

View PostEpicoene, on 14 June 2013 - 02:04 PM, said:

The NT one because it's not in the text (which says stones). Nicholas Hytner dreamt up the NT variant all on his own.
In the Globe production a few years ago, the groundlings had mud thrown at them until it was gently pointed out that maybe people don't expect to have their clothes ruined just because they've only paid £5 for their ticket. Though the mud didn't actually represent mud...

#14 Epicoene

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Posted 14 July 2013 - 05:30 PM

View Postxanderl, on 11 June 2013 - 09:21 AM, said:

Stephen Boxer is fantastic.
Disagree - thought he was really weak and mis-cast - this is a leading Shakespearean role and needs an actor of "Lear" status - the fact they could only cast the lightweight Boxer shows how much the standard of acting at the RSC has declined. Not a bad production but the inexperienced director - Rupert Goold's assistant - has inherited a lot of his tricks but only a little of his talent - his first task should have been to decide whether it was meant to be serious or funny because at the moment it is all over the place. Katy Stephens a terrible pantomime villain turn as Tamara. First 30 seconds are good though. Weak supporting cast.

#15 Carfax

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 12:48 PM

I saw this a few weeks ago and would say it was a very good production overall.  I thought the cast was generally strong - a good sign as I have found the general acting standards at the RSC over recent years unimpressive (there have been honourable exceptions to that, of course).  I do, however, agree with Epicoene about Katy Stephens' Tamora - a convincing scream in response to her child's execution at the beginning and then pure panto from then on; very disappointing.

In response to a comment of Epicoene's in the 'Mad World My Masters' thread, no, this nowhere near as good as the Deborah Warner version with Brian Cox but that was a particularly fine production of the play.

#16 paplazaroo

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 06:15 PM

Anyone who is a titus fan should check out the current production in shoreditch. I went last week, it's in a church so the venue is awesome. Set in wartime blighty and pretty well directed, well acted by titus in particular, some of the younger guys were a bit too fresh out of drama school. Wasn't a fan of Saturnine as he was basically doing an impression pf Alan Cumming in the Taymor version. Overall though worth supporting this young group, malachites they're called.

#17 Monteverdi

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 04:52 PM

I still remember with shocked pleasure the RSC Romans Titus from the 70's - Janet Suzman as Lavinia, and Margaret Tyzack I believe as Tamora, John Wood as Saturninus (or whatever the correct spelling) and Ian Hogg (?) as Titus. Hmm - who was Aaron. Loved it at Stratford on Saturday. John Hopkins is very louche and nasty as Saturninus.

#18 igb

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 11:05 PM

Well, the RSC tweeted that they had a bunch of five quid tickets for tonight, which was an audio described performance (not that you would have known).  I'd been meaning to see it but hadn't got around to booking, so a fiver for a good seat in Gallery 1 was a good incentive.

It's great fun.  I'd not seen the play before, but I was under the impression that it's a grand guignol shocker; pace Epiocene, I think the air of panto or melodrama was both deliberate and the only real way to deal with a body count quite this high (see also the Tamburlaine that Sher and Storry did back in the day).

I thought the leads were all pretty good.  Katy Stephens (I confess to being a huge fan) was her usual reliable self as Tamora, and was obviously having a whale of a time; that funny walk she does in a split skirt and high heels got yet another outing, though, which was probably one too many. Stephen Boxer in the title role was I thought convincing in his path to revenge and his final death, although the last scene is pretty much played for laughs.  Parts of it appeared to be being played by Ian McKellen in his Vicious mode, which was entertaining.  John Hopkins as Saturninus was channeling the recent Measure for Measure (the slight whiff of Roderick Spode and his footer bags) but made a wonderfully decadent figure.  Kevin Harvey as Aaron was a charming villain, who has little to do other than villainy.  The supporting cast was young, inexperienced and rather indistinguishable, but it is hard to make bricks without straw and the writing is pretty weak.  I thought it was all pretty well spoken, and you could hear every word.

I thought the direction was very assured.   It looked lovely on the stage, moved along at a good pace (although it still overran the published timings), made good use of the facilities (the resurrected stage lift in the swan got a good workout) and it all seemed well thought out.  The accusation that it's Goold-lite is probably justifiable, but it was none the worse for that.  

All that said, there's an air of RSC by numbers to parts of the production.   Michael Boyd clearly had a policy that all productions should have something raining down from the flies, a drum-based ritual dance and a fake ###### (edit to add: gentleman's trouser snake): pretty well everything has at least two of those these days, and here we got the first two and, if not a ######, plenty of prosthetic hands, heads and other body parts.  We got the tableaux on stage as we arrived, we got the play starting just before the lights went down, we got the mud on stage to show when we're outdoors: the house style is getting a little too house-y, wouldn't you say?  That annoying and pointless thing of adding a small amount of echo or flanging to selected voices and running that back out of the PA got another outing, and was just as annoying and pointless this time.  There was a lot of business with torches and burning braziers which got rather wearing, too.

Pippa Nixon was in with some friends, so we had two wonderful Rosalinds in the room together.  Which was nice.  I considered asking her what she's doing next year, but she deserves an evening off.

Good fun.  Next visit is Richard II, then Coriolanus at the Donmar, neither of which I suspect will be as funny.

#19 armadillo

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 05:13 AM

A fake what?

#20 igb

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 06:04 AM

View Postarmadillo, on 27 September 2013 - 05:13 AM, said:

A fake what?

Gentlemen's trouser snake.  Bloody prudish censorware.




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