Review: Titus, by Jan Sobrie, Pulse Festival, New Wolsey Studio, June 1

MacRobert Arts Centre presents TITUS, the smash-hit drama about big lies and small truths for ages 1

MacRobert Arts Centre presents TITUS, the smash-hit drama about big lies and small truths for ages 10 plus. Photo: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan - Credit: Archant

When you are young the world is a different place. Things are seen in a different way. Sometimes for the better, some times worse. Titus is a pig. A Roman. And a ten year old boy. He fancies a girl. He plays pretend with his mates. And he can have the attention span of a fruit fly. Titus is also about to jump off his school roof, and plummet to his death.

macrobert arts centre brings us an English language version by playwright Oliver Emanuel, of the European hit Titus. Originally written by Belgian Jan Sobrie, Titus has hit Ipswich Pulse with some hard hitting emotional truths, stripped down and simplified into impossible beauty, by Gavin Jon Wright who plays him.

And he plays the role well. For a grown man. His energy and sheer confidence on the stage keep your eyes transfixed and your heart beating as you are reminded that he is talking to you from the edge of death. Age is quickly forgotten as he stands mimicking what only young kids do with their hands and feet when they’re a bit awkward. You believe you are watching a little boy. A little boy who has lost his mum and gran, and just wants to be with them. The doctors have been trying to tell him he’s a little lost. And he can’t quite deal with all that.

It’s not all doom. In fact its content is transformed so lightheartedly, that there’s a lot of positivity in Titus’ negative world. Recommended for ten years old and above, it was hard to tell who was laughing harder. The adults who could relate to the simplicity of childhood fear and hurt and accidental comedy, or the kids who obviously could relate from a living-it-now point of view. Everyone laughed when he mentioned ‘boobs’ though. Naturally.

One young lady told me she found Titus “fun”. One young boy had blurry eyes. His mother said: “he just found there were emotions he could relate to, he’s the same age”. At three times his age I understood what she meant.


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The original production was awarded Dutch/German Author Prize in 2007. This new version was part of the British Council Showcase and Made in Scotland Showcase 2013. If you get a chance to see this version, it’s a 40 minute investment that may enrich your soul for a while longer than that.

For more information on macrobert’s touring productions visit www.macrobert.org

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Mira Shareif

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