Having subdued the Goths, warrior Titus Andronicus returns to Rome to bury his sons, with Gothic Queen Tamora and her retinue as captives. The newly-dead Roman Emperor's two sons, ... See full summary »
Having subdued the Goths, warrior Titus Andronicus returns to Rome to bury his sons, with Gothic Queen Tamora and her retinue as captives. The newly-dead Roman Emperor's two sons, Saturninus and Bassianus, are competing for their father's title. According to Roman custom, Titus sacrifices Tamora's eldest son to the Gods; having the deciding vote, he also chooses Saturninus as Emperor. Both acts have tragic consequences. Written by
Peter Brynmor Roberts
One of the BBC series which I can respect on the basis that it is approached like a stage performance. It is bound largely to one set which may disappoint some people, but works quite well if you consider it as a piece of theater. Performances are theatrical and large, some hit and some miss. One definite miss is the much misconcieved Aaron the moor who seems more jovial than the evil precursor to Shakespeare's later Iago. Lavinia and Tamora also seem a bit weak and off the mark, but then Lavinia is hardly afforded the time within the play to truly establish sympathy. Tamora fares better, but still seems like it could do with a bit more regal poise. She was a queen after all. The good performances on the other hand do have their flaws, but are largely very strong. Saturninus is way over the top, but admirably tackles the huge ego and short temper of the sinister ruler. Special kudos must be awarded to the actor portraying Marcus Andronicus. He achieves the moments of over the top style reflected in much of the cast, but he also has moments of wonderful subtlety and maintains a stoic and staid respectability. His performance may very well be the finest in the production. Finally, Peacock most noticeably brings his weighty gravely voice to Titus, and brings with it the necessary bellowing fire to the whole affair. His performance is even larger and more stylized than most, but I was actually moved deeply by some of his speeches in the scene immediately after he has his hand lopped off. When reading the play, they are just words on a page, but his voice cries out to the rafters full of anguish and horror at the events beset upon him. Quite nice. On the whole, the affair is carried off with a fire and style that may occasionally be missed in Shakespeare productions, and that helps one to overlook it's flaws. Maybe not an incredible video, but good theater.
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