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Titus Andronicus: An All-female Production
Published on Tuesday, 16 July 2013
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Bedlam Theatre (venue website)
Theatre
2-24 Aug, 7:30pm-8:35pm

 Parents or guardians should consider the content of this show if children are attending.

There are four versions of Titus Andronicus at Fringe 2013, but this – from the cleverly-named Smooth-Faced Gentlemen – surely stands out. Performed by an all-woman cast, it promises a “brutally farcical take” on Shakespeare’s bloodiest work, as well as providing a new opportunity for female actors to take on roles that are normally reserved for men. And with the co-founders of Edinburgh favourites Three’s Company providing substantial creative input, there’s a lot of promise in this eye-catching play.

It might be the Smooth Faced Gentlemen’s debut in Edinburgh, but it’s not the first time we’ve seen their work. At last year’s Buxton Fringe, they picked up a coveted best-theatre award for Romeo and Juliet, in a performance which won praise for its sharp and inventive approach to Shakespeare’s text. Crucially, we hear the all-female cast brought some new meanings to this most familiar of plays – inviting a re-assessment of the relationships between the characters, and focussing attention away from our assumptions back onto the words of the Bard.

This year they’ve turned to a lesser-known script, and tackling Titus seems a particularly gutsy move: after all, with its notorious level of bloodthirsty violence, it’s easy to think of it as a specifically masculine play. But as the Smooth-Faced Gentlemen point out, it also features one of Shakespeare’s strongest female characters – and a power struggle between a man and a woman lies at the story’s heart. So, the jury’s out on whether the Smooth-Faced Gentlemen’s experiment will ultimately succeed; but it’ll certainly be an interesting one to take part in.

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