Julius Caesar

Tue 5th – Sat 9th March 2013


Elizabeth Spence

at 09:23 on 6th Mar 2013



Although a week early to coincide with the Ides of March, David Tremain's staging of Julius Caesar proved to be a fresh, engaging production with an impressive quartet of actors at its core.

All four male protagonists gave convincing performances, especially Aydan Greatrick as Brutus, who fitted into his role with such ease one almost forgot his words were written 400 odd years ago and not for the contemporary suave Italian politician in Tremain's production. This realism was reflected by all throughout the performance, with slick delivery of lines and smooth entrances and exits meaning I never found my mind wandering.

Other more minor characters who deserve note are Femi Oriogun-Williams as Casca, whose hand movements were especially attention grabbing, and Melanie Etherton's Portia, who, through only making one heartfelt appearance, proved to be utterly persuasive as Shakespeare's token spokesperson for women's rights.

The crowd scenes displayed particular energy, and were well choreographed and rehearsed so as to create a real sense of the bustle of Rome (although I'm not sure the soothsayer 's Sainsbury's bags are very typically Italian...). The strategic placing of Caesar's dead body in the second half of the play parted the mob to frame Anthony and gave the audience a clear view of this inspirational speaker.

In general, the set and costumes were simple but effective. Symbolic red cummerbunds, which handily doubled as sword sheaths, helped both male and female actors in black and white outfits to maintain a professional rather than school-like air. The military jackets were also most impressive and marked a clear distinction between the Capitol and the battlefield.

Whilst the play's success lay in its realism, this was disturbed at some moments. I felt the sounds of the city played over the speaker system at one point were unnecessary - why not use the wonderful ensemble members who make up the crowd? Moreover, it was a shame that some of Anthony's words were unintelligible when he shouted too loudly, although they still conveyed astonishing power. However, these are only suggestions of minor improvement to a thoroughly enjoyable production.


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