As Digression Theatre Company, this tight ensemble of drama students from the University of Winchester offers a reflection on Shakespeare’s early anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better gore-fest.
Shakespeare was out to impress with the sheer audacity of his play and so are Digression. They revel in the blood and guts, quite literally, in this 80-minute piece of physical theatre.
At times, it is not physical enough. The production relies too much on storytelling in modern prose with rare nods at Shakespeare’s verse.
There is still not enough here to follow the narrative without a working knowledge of the original and what there is serves to highlight the most crucial flaw in the structure – the non-appearance of Titus himself. This robs the play of its most powerful and charismatic image of vengeance.
The best moments – and there are many – are non-verbal. This committed and well-integrated group of 10 effectively evoke the tension and the visceral impact of the drama and could have taken their pure physicalisation of it further to stronger effect.