Festivals · Music · Theatre

Smooth Faced Gentlemen – Titus Andronicus

Much praise is deserved by Smooth Faced Gentlemen for their stunning interpretation of Titus Andronicus at the Bedlam Theatre in Edinburgh’s Forrest Road.

smooth faced gentlemen titus edinburgh

 

This was a “wild card” ticket for me, as I’d not heard of the company (they’re new) and although I like to take the opportunity during the Festival to see as much rarely-performed Shakespeare as possible, the last Titus I saw was very…long…
But I was curious to see the renovated Bedlam and the performance was billed at just over an hour, so, worth a punt.
A magic hour it was. These folk really know what they are doing. Titus was not in favour for a long time as it is essentially Shakespeare’s prediction of the video nasty genre, (pulling up just short of the snuff movie) – rape, murder, mutilation and creative cookery. It is hard to stage, and was long considered just too much for an audience to deal with.  But I guess in a world where anyone can turn on the radio and hear Mumford and Sons, we’re inured to this sort of thing…

 

smooth faced gentlemen titus andronicus edinburgh
We know Titus can be performed as an unremitting, grim bloodbath. In the hands of Smooth Faced Gentlemen however, the appalling violence and gore are offset with lightness of touch in the acting and indeed, subtle humour; the stagecraft is stunning, with a couple of touches that were so effective I can’t believe I’ve never seen them done before; even the company’s use of the echoing depths of the converted church that is Bedlam was knowing and appropriately spooky.

Smooth Faced Gentlemen Titus Andronicus Bedlam Theatre
“Rape; murder…” Gimme shelter…

SFG’s Titus Andronicus is on until 24 August (I might even go again) and their website is well worth a look to get the gist of what this exciting company is doing.

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