Writer: William Shakespeare
Director: Yaz Al-Shaater
Reviewer: Eric Fletcher
Type Titus Andronicus into the Edinburgh Festival Fringe website and you will see no less than four different productions of Shakespeare’s bloodiest play all vying for your attention. What sets this production apart is the Smooth FacedGentleman’s exclusive use of women in one of Shakespeare’s most male-centricplays.
Wielding paint brushes doubling as swords and vivid red paint as blood, the audience is given a visual treat and some pretty inventive ideas all crammed into just over an hour. Artistic director, Ashlea Kaye, leads from the front, playing three interchangeable characters and pulling it off with aplomb. Her scenes as Marcus Andronicus with the heartbreakingly touching Leila Sykes’ Lavinia are particularly moving.
Where this production, however, starts to lose its tread is the all too often cheap joke andunnecessary mugging to the audience; while we are met with a whole host of imaginative,individual ideas, they don’t necessarily work when joined together.Special mention should be made to Dramaturgs, Tom Crawshaw and Ann Beecher and their strippeddown script, which removes the fat, but leaves enough meat for a tasty pie at the end. Director Yaz AlShaater has managed to create a visually evocative piece with strong physicality; this reviewer just wises therehad been more attention paid to the emotionally shocking elements, rather than shoe horning inunnecessary comedy.Despite that, if you’re not familiar with the story of Titus and want to be entertained rather thanshocked, then the Smooth Faced Gentleman’s production ticks all those boxes.
Runs until Sat 24th Aug