Theatre Review: Titus Andronicus

Titus Andronicus’ is thought to be Shakespeare’s earliest tragedy, written while he was still learning his craft.

Presented by Red Phoenix Theatre
Reviewed 18 Aug 2016

Titus Andronicus is thought to be Shakespeare’s earliest tragedy, written while he was still learning his craft. It lacks the cohesion of his later tragedies and seems to need more development in plot and characters. This story could well have been more familiar to his audience of the time than it is to us, needing less explanation than his other works.

Red Phoenix has done a good job with what I would call a flawed script. They have taken the story he gave us and produced a strong piece of theatre. Using an almost bare stage, they have relied on the action to carry it through. Simple costuming with easily recognisable house colours aids the understanding of the action a little.

Matt Houston  Photo credit: Richard Parkhill

Matt Houston
Photo credit: Richard Parkhill

Brant Eustice does well in the title role; his hotheaded and unreasonable reaction to his son in the first scene gives some insight into the state of the character’s mind. As Saturninus Matt Houston gives us a weak indulged man who is easily under the influence of Tamora, Queen of the vanquished Goths and his new wife. Rachel Burfield makes Tamora full of guile and hell bent on revenge – a strong performance.

Tracy Walker plays Marca (originally Marcus) the voice of reason and calm, with dignity and conviction. The daughter of Titus and the focus of much of Tamora’s hate is Anna Bampton who gave a well-rounded performance in a difficult role. Adolphus Waylee is the Moor, Aaron, and shows some depth, but is hampered by his diction at times.

Other roles are taken by Kyron Weetra and Joshua Mensch as Tamora’s sons, and Matt Lynch as Lucius (son of Titus); all handling Shakespeare’s dialogue well.

The tale of bloody revenge and its consequences is a familiar Shakespearean model and Red Phoenix has done well to bring us this unfamiliar piece.

This company has promised to bring Adelaide plays we have not yet experienced, Titus Andronicus is a good start, and I look forward to their coming productions.

Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Twitter: @franeds

Venue: Holden Street Theatres, Hindmarsh
Season:18 – 27 Aug 2016
Duration: 2hr 30mins
Tickets: Adult $19, Conc $13,
Bookings: www,


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