Titus Sharkdronicus could be the poster child for fringe theatre at the Fringe: it’s an unconventional and unforgettable take on the classic tragedy by Shakespeare, replete with murder, mayhem, and sharks. Director Fiona Austin writes in the program her interpretation was born out of a painful viewing of Sharknado, the notorious so-bad-it’s-good film, but her parody is a enjoyable farce in its own right. With swift pacing, skilled comedic actors, and appropriate nods to pop culture, Austin’s interpretation of Titus Andronicus holds an irreverent mirror to the original text and points to the absurdity inherent there.
Fiona Austin’s direction is confident as she expertly mines the original text for comedic material, but the real stars are the company of actors. Each is given the opportunity to shine (and shine they do), but there are a few that must be mentioned:
Sean Scofield as the embattled Titus is simply a thrill to watch. His comedic chops are only second to his commitment to exploring the extremes of the original text. His emotional athleticism is astounding.
Adrienne Marquand plays the manipulative Tamora with aplomb: she is charming, seductive, dangerous. She is obviously adept at comedy, but also possesses a clear understanding of Shakespeare’s language and wields it to great effect.
Ashley Marquand imbues the oft-victimized Lavinia with a wonderful sense of physical comedy and ditz. As the character who suffers the most violence, her presentation is reminiscent of the Shakespearean “fool,” and is a delight.
Vernon Taylor is inspired as the villainous Aaron. His carefully crafted comedic bits were some of the highlights of the play. The show benefits from his specificity and unconventional presentation.
What I didn't like
The play reinforced my fear of sharks. Thanks, Sharkdronicus. I’m now even more scared of the ocean.
My overall impression
Titus Sharkdronicus is a lively and irreverent take on Shakespeare’s tragedy. With swift pacing, wonderfully built comedic moments, and skilled acting, this salty interpretation of the bard’s tale will entertain the casual theatre-goer and Shakespeare enthusiast alike.