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The Most Lamentable Tragedy of Titus Andronicus

Shakespeare’s bloody and awkward Titus Andronicus receives a compelling staging from director Robert Strasser and editor Damien Samways, who navigate the plot holes with a clear emphasis on story over logic. As Titus, the old soldier who loves Rome and is repeatedly wronged by the Emperor Saturninus (an excellent Doug Hettich), Robert Mitchell is wild, angry, mad, cunning, cruel, loving and murderous – just as the play demands, and always with the proper measure of intelligence. His late declaration “I … am the sea,” is marrow-chilling; Mitchell’s confrontation with the abusers of his daughter is presaged by a baleful glance and a slow inhalation that rimes the theatre with frost. Alan David’s turn as the black-hearted Moor Aaron is similarly bleak; he’s vile and malevolent, as twisted by hatred and his lusts as Mitchell’s Titus is wracked by grief and rage. The Tin Ceiling’s low-budget aesthetic means the many deaths (14 by Strasser’s count) are bloodless, but no less grisly for all that. It’s the performances that provide the horror here, and your imagination takes care of the little details. Presented by the Tin Ceiling at the Tin Ceiling Theater (3159 Cherokee Street; 314-374-1511 or through Sunday, December 21. Tickets are $10.
Fridays-Sundays. Starts: Dec. 12. Continues through Dec. 21, 2008

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