Review — Titus Andronicus at the Globe

I love theatre, and I love Shakespeare so I can’t really explain why last night was my first visit to the Globe, considering I’ve been living in London more than ten years,

Titus Andronicus is one of Shakespeare’s lesser known plays and until recently I didn’t even know much about it. It was only after I booked the tickets that I found out this particular production is so gory audience members have been fainting.

I am very squeamish. I like horror if it’s the tension-building kind, but I can’t watch splatterfests, and I was a little apprehensive about seeing it.

Titus Andronicus lived up to the hype. It was bloody. There was plenty of murder, a couple of rapes, people kept getting appendages chopped off, and let’s not leave out the cannibalism. Blood dripped onto the stage within the first five minutes, and it just kept coming.

Someone in the audience fainted.

But it wasn’t me. It was one of the groundlings, and considering the heat and how packed it was down there, it’s possible the fainting fit wasn’t down to the gore. But it probably was.

The production was very good. I can’t fault a single performance. The atmosphere, venue and set were brilliant, but ultimately I wasn’t crazy about it.

I usually love Shakespeare, but this just wasn’t one of his best. It was supposedly written to satisfy a vogue for bloodthirsty plays, and it shows.

There were a handful of lighter moments, most notably these famous lines (which brilliantly combine Shakespeare’s talent for insults with his skill for smutty innuendo):

Demetrius: Villain, what hast thou done?

Aaron: That which thou canst not undo.

Chiron: Thou hast undone our mother.

Aaron: Villain, I have done thy mother.

I’ve been lucky enough to have seen some extraordinary Shakespearian productions on stage (Ian McKellan as King Lear, and then Patrick Stewart as Macbeth immediately spring to mind), but unfortunately there is a reason Titus Andronicus is one of the lesser known plays. I’m glad I’ve seen it, but unlike King Lear, Macbeth or many of his others, I wouldn’t be interested in seeing it again. Very much a been there, done that kind of thing.

Final verdict: See it if you like gore, are a serious Shakespeare fan, and/or want to see Shakespeare at the Globe in London. Give it a miss if you are squeamish, or are able to wait until next year’s season to see something at the Globe.

Book Basset promo sale

Sale extended!

I had a Book Basset promo at a sale price of $0.99 go out on Friday which has boosted my sales nicely.

The price was supposed to go back to $3.99 today but I’ve decided to extend it to Wednesday to give those readers who wanted to try a sample first the opportunity to still get a good deal.

So if you’re still on the fence, you’ve got a few more days to grab a cheap copy!

On being a real boy…

So what makes someone a proper author, and not just some wannabe hobbyist? It’s not the money. We all know that with a few exceptions, traditionally authors don’t make much. Now we can self-publish, is it just uploading to Amazon? Not so sure about that. Anyone can put up a single page containing nothing more than the word fuck written 200 times just for a lark. So the action of self-publishing may not be enough. Is it just the fact that you wrote The End at some point in your manuscript, whether you did anything with it or not? Is it only that you consider yourself a proper author?

I spent a long time feeling like I was just another hobbyist. Just one more wannabe author, scribbling away at a manuscript and stuffed with grubby little hopes that it might be moderately successful. Well, now I know I am a proper author, and it’s not because the book is available on Amazon, and it’s not because I’m making much money. I’m a long way from making a living from this. So far my earnings don’t even cover my coffee habit at my weekly writers’ group.

So what makes me finally feel like I’m a proper author?

Readers.

I have had some incredible reviews and emails come in in the last few weeks. This is going to sound a little odd, but the best thing about sending your work out for review by total strangers is that you know they have absolutely no reason to be nice to you. Even if they are the nice type, if your work sucks, the best you’ll get is a lied: ‘Um yes, I quite enjoyed it.’ They’re certainly not going to rave about it. And I’ve got some raves. My ego may be going through the roof in fact. (I just corrected a typo on that last line. It originally read: my ego may be going through the foof, which is a different thing entirely, and also a somewhat curious concept)

So yes, I finally know I’m a real author (I’m a real boy, Geppetto) and not someone just playing at it. So a big thank you to all those readers who have taken the time to contact me and say nice things.

You are all fabulous. Thank you!

 

All quiet on the social media front

In case anyone is wondering why I’ve been fairly silent recently, it’s because I’ve been on an all out mission to finish the next book in the Vivia Brisk series. It’s due to go out to beta readers at the end of the week.

It’ll still be a while before it hits the shelves though – I’ve still got to go through the post-critiquing drafts, as well as through editing.

Watch this space, I’ll shout it from the rooftops once I can confirm a release date.

Until then, more working and less faffing about on the internet (much as I love it).

Distractions…

Right, so I’ve got the Anti-Social app which handily lets me block social media sites when I’m supposed to be working. Useful. However, I procrastinate putting it on.

So who knows where I can get a giant pop up that activates whenever I’ve been online for more than an hour and just blares: ‘Get off the effing internet, Fairbrother’ until I knuckle down and get working?

Reader, writer, ex-corporate drone. Author of The Secret Dead.