Titus Andronicus in Cantonese 泰特斯- The Globe Theatre

What a great way to start the Bank Holiday weekend! But such bad weather – cold and bleak with the threat of rain coming on. I wrapped up warm but I was still cold.

As a Cantonese speaker and well, not knowing what Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus was about, I booked a ticket anyway to see the translated version in Cantonese (this was before I booked the Mandarin play – Richard III). I booked the second and final showing on Friday 4th May.

This time instead of going towards London Bridge (to avoid traffic jams and people traffic) I went to the Globe via Blackfriars Bridge. So easy and quick to get to. There was hardly anyone blocking my way. And there is less pavement work going on over at that end!

Outside The Globe Theatre
A sign post of all the 37 different countries that are participating this year 

The play’s leaflet – The synopsis was in Simplified Chinese (should’ve been in Traditional)
and the rest was in Traditional Chinese – Editing error??

There was a camera crew who were filming this play. I sat right next to them in the back row! 

The Cameras ^^ – I didn’t expect any filming!

At the start, the standing audience started building up and suddenly a group of people walked straight onto the stage and into the backstage… The actors/actresses were in their normal clothes within the crowds, Wow, that’s different! They were just standing around in the audience like they were a part of the audience. ^^

The audience at the start of the play… So many people standing!! 

Not having read any reviews from Hong Kong or S.E. Asia, and from watching the Mandarin version of Richard III, I was expecting something similar in Titus Andronicus 泰特斯. But I was wrong… It was Shakespeare, but this time, with a Hong Kong twist!

The introduction felt modernised with the usage of chairs and stamping of feet. They weren’t acting towards each other but were talking/acting to the audience. It was a long introduction where they began with the death of the Roman Emperor, and suggesting who would succeed the throne… They suddenly got dressed into their costumes right in front of us… Now, that wasn’t expected 😀

Anyway on with the play. I found it quite barbaric in the first half with the rape of Titus’ daughter, the mutilations and the funny evil brothers… The Queen’s affair was a bit of a shock and the handsome prince in white died so quickly! There were some Cantonese references such as “wearing a green hat” (着綠帽) – the man or woman that commits adultery will wear a green hat. Hahah, Shakespeare must’ve really wanted his audience to shake in their boots with this play!!

My favourite part was the second half when Titus was planning on his revenge for his daughter and sons. The actor Andy Ng 吳偉碩 who played Titus did a good job of acting insane. The actress Ivy Pang 彭珮嵐 who played the Queen Tamora was brilliant too when she switched roles to play as Revenge and her sons as Murder and Rape! Incredibly funny! The most gruesome part was the cannibalism – but that was an act of revenge against the King (played by Masu Wong 黃兆輝 – who looks like Tony Leung from a distance – probably it was the hair!)
 and the Queen.

The actors welcoming the Director Tang Shu-wing 鄧樹榮 of the play 

Didn’t get the actor at the end on the right hand side… 

More applause ^^

The End!

I hope Hong Kong’s Tang Shu-wing’s Theatre Studio will bring more Cantonese productions to the UK ^_^ – Well done! 加油!

Only one annoying thing throughout the play were the planes 
again – I hate you planes! Stop flying over The Globe!!

More Cantonese plays please!!!

Interesting info:
Whilst searching about some of the actors from the play, I discovered the following website. It may be of interest to those who haven’t seen it. The clip (with English subs) is different in terms of costumes, stage and acting to the one shown at The Globe, which was re-adapted…



Richard III in Mandarin 理查三世 – The Globe Theatre

So much to do in London! So many Chinese and global events too. 

Eason Chan (Hong Kong singer) had a concert on 23rd April, but I couldn’t go since it was on a Monday at the O2 Arena (which is so far) but I had already gone to his concert two years ago at the Royal Albert Hall. Oh well. So in the end I decided to go to one of my favourite theatres in London during that week – The Globe Theatre.

I remembered when I was a teenager the new Globe Theatre (a bit further away from its original location back in the 1600’s – 230 metres away) had just opened, but I didn’t go to see any shows at that time. So in the past few years I try to go to at least one show a year!

I got a couple of brochures posted to me and a lot of e-Newsletters about an international event of Shakespearian plays being performed in 37 different languages… The Globe to Globe Festival. So obviously I went and booked for the Cantonese play first which is on Friday 4th May, but later on I decided I still needed to improve on my listening skills in Mandarin so I booked a ticket for the first showing of Richard III 理查三世 on Sartuday 28th April.

Inside the Globe Theatre

I left an hour early before the show started, but the bus was slow due to traffic (anyone going to London Bridge should get off the stop before – coming from the South side, and walk the rest of the way – traffic was murder!). I literally had half an hour before the show started – but it was also unfortunate that they’re doing pavement work along the sidewalk!! How annoying. It was like that a month ago!!!!! How long does it take to finish a pavement?

The Box Office area after the play

Anyway, cushion – check; programme – check; seat found – check; photos taken before the play started – check! Phew!

The mini leaflet about the play

At the start of the play the Globe Theatre’s Director came out to introduce the play and explain that the actor’s costumes had been shipped 7 weeks ago but hadn’t arrived yet, so they had to improvise.

It rained throughout the whole play 😦 but the show still carried on! 🙂 The play itself was brilliantly directed and translated. The actors played it like a true Shakespearian play with a Chinese twist, although Richard III was not depicted as a hunchback and didn’t have a squeaky voice. 
The Globe was even cool enough to add digital signs to help those who didn’t speak a word of Mandarin (and other languages) to tell us what was going on (I’m very grateful – as I haven’t read the play).

The digital screen display

The Throne during the interval

My favourite parts during the play were:
1. Richard III trying to get Lady Anne to marry him
2. The executioners – they were so funny – especially when they tried to kill Clarence (Richard’s brother)
3. Loved it when Richard said: “我爱我自己。” (I love myself) – so funny!
4. I think they kept to the play – keeping the character’s names and the places i.e Tower of London (this was mentioned a lot in the play!).

My least favourite part was Lady Anne’s Chinese opera. It was very high pitched. And sadly Chinese opera never agrees with my ears. But that’s one of the Chinese twists in the play!

Unlike the Shakespeare Company who would usually perform a dance right at the end of the play, they came out several times to bow to the audience. Heheheh. These group of actors are really cool.

The actors / actresses from the National Theatre of China at the end of the play 

Actor Zhang Dongyu 张东雨 who played Richard III 

Another round of applause with the Chinese Director Wang Xiaoying 王晓鹰 ^^ 

The End

One thing that The Globe should complain more often about is the noise from the airplanes and helicopters that fly past the theatre. It’s distracting and I couldn’t hear the actors. Plus one annoying thing was that I was sitting near the door, so I heard a lot of people coming in and out… 😦

I’m now in the mood for more Shakespeare! I can’t wait to see the Cantonese one!! ^_^

Website: http://www.shakespearesglobe.com/

p.s. I forgot to mention about the sound effects, the percussionist and the coin bag throwing attempt was brilliant too! I’m pretty sure the whole audience loved it very much!