Liam Rudden: General goriness breaks out

Titus Andronicus. Pic: Comp
Titus Andronicus. Pic: Comp
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TYPICAL. You wait an age for a Roman general to step on to a stage and then three march along in quick succession.

Despite this, Titus Andronicus remains one of Shakespeare’s least performed works. It’s hardly surprising. Drenched in blood and gore from start to finish, it is by far his grisliest work.

Titus Andronicus is the story of the eponymous Roman general. Returned from the wars with Tamora, Queen of the Goths, and her sons as his captives, a double-revenge plot unfolds when first, he slays her son, Alarbus, and later she has his daughter Lavinia raped and mutilated by her other sons Chiron and Demetrious.

As the body count rises, hands are chopped off, a tongue removed and siblings cooked in a pie that is then served to their mother.

KAOS Theatre’s 2003 Fringe production sparked my love of Titus Andronicus. Raw and visceral it left a lasting impression.

Then, last month a chance to relive Shakespeare’s Globe’s spellbinding 2006 production when it was broadcast in cinemas reacquainted me with the piece.

And right now, there’s a production on stage at Dundee Rep’s Bonnar Hall, which has been transformed into the kitchen of a Rome restaurant - the audience are seated at tables.

I caught it at the weekend. From the off, as actors mingle, mutter lines and, in one case, cook onions, there is the promise of this being an exciting immersive experience - at one point I found myself clasping the hand of the great general himself. Despite this, it was a muted affair.

A chance to see a rarely performed play none the less... only not so rarely it turns out. A press release in my emails reveal Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Group will present their take on the tragedy at The Roxy, from 6-9 May.

Suddenly, the old general has never been more popular.