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‘Titus Clown’
at The New American Shakespeare Tavern

2012 November 12

Stephanie Friedman, Zachary W. Magan, Maia Knispel

“Titus Clown,” a takeoff on Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus,” is not all blood and gore, but it’s not for the queasy. And if you plan on sitting up close to the stage at The New American Shakespeare Tavern for this show, be advised: you may get stained with what appears to be blood oozing from a baby’s wrists once its hands have been excised.

The show plays on the theme of “Titus Andronicus” tinged with The Marx Brothers and The Three Stooges thrown in for good humor. What makes this show is its co-creator and star actor, Maia Knispel. No matter how cartoonish and outlandish her actions, she plays them with so much true-to-life sincerity, she’ll have you rolling with laugher while she is literally lying on the ground rolling with laughter.

But what breaks this show is the overacting of clown Bobbi, who consistently overemotes, appearing like a cartoon character of a cartoon character. The script is cartoonish enough. If you like those old cartoons from the 1960s where the characters consistently maim one another and play mean tricks on one another, you’ll likely find this show quite entertaining. No matter how much these clowns bludgeon one another, they’re like Wile E. Coyoe, who might appear to be lying dead in the road after being tossed from a high cliff falling splat onto concrete. Yet they all manage to pick themselves right back up.

If you’ve forgotten “Titus Andronicus,” you can read the shortened version of it here on Wikipedia. It would be good to review it before seeing the show.

“Titus Clown” runs through Nov. 17 at The New American Shakespeare Tavern where “Titus Andronicus” will be performed through Nov. 25.

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