BWW Review: TITUS ANDRONICUS at The Shakespeare Theatre of NJ is an Epic Tale of Treachery and Revenge
"When will these fearful slumbers have an end?"
by Titus in Titus Andronicus
William Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus is now being presented at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey through August 5th. The first-period tragedy, written in 1591, is a calamitous tale that has not been produced by the Theatre for over thirty years. With the creative and clever direction by Brian Crowe and a stellar cast, this story of murder and mayhem will keep you captivated. In her address to the audience on opening night, Artistic Director, Bonnie Monte stated, "It is high time for us to do this play and an apt time to do it." We agree. This epic tale from the Elizabethan era illustrates the dire consequences of deception and revenge.
The play is set in the late days of the Roman Empire. It is a fictional story that tells of vengeful plots between Titus, a renowned Roman General, and Tamora, Queen of the Goths. When Titus has Tamora's eldest son killed to avenge his own sons' deaths, a series of chilling incidents take place that devastate countless lives. Even after Tamora marries Saturninus, the reigning emperor, her wrath knows no boundaries. Titus' only daughter, Lavinia is raped and maimed by two of Tamora's sons, causing Titus to retailiate with even more violence. While the story is truly menacing, the production incorporates some spirited, comedic moments.
The cast of accomplished actors brings the show's action, drama, and terror to the stage without missing a beat. The company includes Bruce Cromer as Titus Andronicus; Robert Cuccioli as Marcus Andronicus; Benjamin Eakeley as Saturninus; Vanessa Morosco as Goth Queen Tamora; Clark Scott Carmichael as Lucius; Quentin McCuiston as Chiron; Fiona Robberson as Lavinia; Chris White as Aaron the Moor; and Torsten Johnson as Demetrius. The cast is rounded out by Oliver Archibald, Elizabeth Colwell, AJ DeAugustine, Courtney McGowan, Jackson Knight Pierce, Braden Spear, and Kyle Walton. There are also over a dozen of the Theatre's summer Acting Apprentice Company on stage and in the wings.
The Creative Team has brought the striking landscape for Titus Andronicus to the Madison Stage with scenic design by Dick Block; lighting design by Andrew Hungerford; costume design by Yao Chen; and sound design by Karin Graybash. The Fight Director is Rick Sordelet. The Production Stage Manager is Kathy Snyder and the Assistant Stage Manager is Jackie Mariani.
Metro area audiences will be enthralled by The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's stunning and elaborate production of Titus Andronicus. There are plenty of takeaways from the story's tumultuous events and the characters' lack of civility. This is a show that will provoke interesting conversations. See it while you can.
Titus Andronicus is not recommended for young audiences. The show runs for 2 hours and 40 minutes with one intermission. The show will be performed through August 5 at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Avenue. Tickets for the show can be purchased by calling the Box Office at 973.408.5600 or by visiting http://www.shakespearenj.org/.
Photo Credit: Jerry Dalia