Went out with the man last night; took him to see Titus Andronicus at the Tobacco Factory. I had heard good things about it, but I was really nervous. I wanted it to be spectacular for Hairy's sake -- he'd never been to a Shakespeare play before! (How utterly unEnglish) I guess you could say that I got to pop his cultural cherry. (Actually, I did say that. He thought it was hilarious.)
The play was pretty good. The theatre is a blackbox in the round, so there was no set or staging of any kind. The costuming was done in American late 18th c dress, which i took to be an attempt at some kind of comment on American imperialism, but because there was no context other than the costumes to make the point, it was a bit goofy. By and large the acting was excellent, except for the dude who played Lucius who clearly got the part because he was hot, and the guy who played Titus, who was the director filling in for the lead because he (the lead) was in hospital having emergency surgery. Also, there wasn't nearly enough blood. They didn't use any fake squirty blood AT ALL for all the stabbings, which i thought was really boring. This was the 17th c equivalent of a Stephen Segal movie; people went to cheer at the blood and guts. Take that away and you've lost half the entertainment value of the movie. (And if you try to argue with me on this point i will dismiss you as a stuffed-shirt shakespeare upper-class cultural purist who has no idea what 17th c theatre was actually like.) TA without blood flying everywhere is like a Die Hard flick without massive explosions, or an episode of the Dukes of Hazard without a really good car chase -- it's just. not. done.
That said, it was a good show overall, and we had a good time. I hope it wasn't too painful for him.