Review: Titus Andronicus, Baron’s Court Theatre

“I say, my lord, that if I were a man, their mother’s bedchamber should not be safe”

It may feel like I’ve been to all the theatres in London but there are so many fringe venues spread across the city that there are some that have yet to be blessed by my presence, the Baron’s Court Theatre in the basement of the Curtains Up pub being one of them. And when they announced an all-female production of Titus Andronicus, a Shakespeare play I have yet to see in order to complete the set, by Inside of Out, it seemed the time was ripe to kill two birds with the one stone.

Titus Andronicus has oft been described as one of Shakespeare’s goriest plays and quite frankly the numbers (according to Wikipedia at least) don’t lie: 14 killings (though just the 9 onstage), 6 severed members, between 1 and 3 rapes, 1 live burial and some cannibalism thrown in for good measure. But beyond the barbarity, there is a powerful story too of the corrosive impact of violence on society, of the devastating effect of two opposing sides unwilling to back down and what that does to the individual, the family and even the government. Shakespeare’s Titus is a Roman general who has returned victorious from 10 years of conflict with the Goths with their queen Tamora a prisoner, but a ritual sacrifice avenging the death of his sons sparks off a terrible cycle of revenge with Tamora whose unexpected new position as Empress ensures this is a power game with the highest of stakes, leaving no-one untouched. Continue reading “Review: Titus Andronicus, Baron’s Court Theatre”