Jul. 2nd, 2017

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I hadn't originally planned to see the RSC's production of Titus Andronicus - it's really not a play you want to see too often, but when I learned they had cast David Troughton in the title role I decided I would go after all.  SM declined - he had come with me on the previous occasion, and as I said, it's not a play you see regularly.  On that occasion Stephen Boxer had been in the lead role, so I was interested to see how the two actors compared.  (I've seen them both as Gloucester in King Lear).  I find it quite hard to remember the last performance, but looking back it was nearly four years ago when we saw it.

It was a really good production.  It always feels slightly wrong to say I enjoyed the play, but I did.  David Troughton has an amazing ability to bring in the humour which acts as such a strong contrast to the horrendous events which are being portrayed.  It was a strong cast overall.  I was particularly taken with Patrick Drury, who plays Titus' brother Marcus.  Of the 20 in the cast, 13 are in their RSC debut season, and I would certainly be very happy to see any of them again.

It's a modern dress production and in fact feels quite up to date.  The themes of the play all seem very relevant to life today, even if the outworkings aren't as physical.  Once more the musicians were excellent, and the music adds to the play.  Even at one point having four trombonists marching on the stage (three trombonists are credited in the programme, I am assuming the trumpeter doubled up for this role).

The set is extremely well done.  At one end is the Capitol and the seat of power, enclosed by wire meshing, and very cut-off from the rest of humanity.  In the centre of the main stage (it's a thrust stage) a square section descends and ascends and thus provides for all the necessary stage furniture, which is limited to the small space.  This means that everything is merely a prop for the action, rather than dominating it.

As a play, Titus Andronicus is never going to be one that's much recommended, but I would certainly commend the production.  So, if you want to see every single Shakespeare play, this might be one way of doing so.

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