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RSC's Titus Andronicus carries heavy warning as production ups the blood-squirting gore Tarantino-style

Alice Jones' Arts Diary

Warnings of strobes and loud bangs are commonplace at the theatre. Now lily-livered audiences are being protected from trailers too.

The RSC’s promotional video for Titus Andronicus, which opens next week, is preceded by a warning about “graphic imagery and scenes of butchery” and is only viewable after clicking through to another page on the theatre’s website. The gory two-minute film shows Titus (Stephen Boxer) baking Queen Tamora’s sons in a pie. There are hacksaws splintering through bones and entrails boiling in a pan.

Michael Fentiman, making his directorial debut at the RSC, confirms that the show will feature “buckets of blood”, and a final banquet scene “like something out of Tarantino”. “Films like Django Unchained prove that the kill rate in a play like Titus is not a wholly unattractive thing to a modern audience”, he says.

The director has been working with illusionist and member of the Magic Circle Richard Pinner on the most realistic ways to chop off hands and murder someone with a butter knife on stage. And this week held a ‘blood call’ rehearsal– “to work out where all the blood is going to go.” While the trailer comes with an 18 certificate, the show itself has no age restriction.

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