July 29, 2011
Reviewed by Paula Citron
Stratford Shakespeare Company
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Darko Tresnjak
Featuring John Vickery, Sean Arbuckle, David Ferry, Paul Fauteux, Amanda Lisman, and Claire Lautier
Tom Paterson Theatre
Jun. 23 to Sept. 24, 2011
The Stratford Festival should kidnap American director Darko Tresnjak. His debut production of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus is absolutely spellbinding.
The play is early rough and ready Shakespeare. Titus is a revenge play with relentless blood, guts and gore, but Tresnjak is able to make sense of the violence by layering in humanity and genuine emotion. The characters, which could be stereotypical, actually connect with each other.
Tresnjak is also the set designer, and his use of lighting and stylization is superb. Linda Cho has given him gorgeous Roman and Goth period costumes. The setting is as Shakespeare imagined, so there is a purity of presentation.
The fine cast includes John Vickery as the noble Roman Titus, with outstanding performances from Paul Fauteux as his hotly wired son Lucius, Claire Lautier as the scheming Tamara, and the superb Amanda Lisman as the ravaged Lavinia.
This is a run don’t walk production.
Titus Andronicus continues at Stratford’s Tom Patterson Theatre until Sept. 24.