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Posted by : RodDungate on Apr 09, 2017 - 03:20 PM RSC
Stratford Upon Avon / London
JULIUS CAESAR: William Shakespeare
4Star****

RSC: Main House, To 9 September (Stratford), 29 November (London)

Runs: 3 hrs, one interval
Tkts: 0844 800 1110
www.rsc.org

@TheRSC

Review: Alexander Ray Edser, 5 April 2017

Has its moments, but not a totally satisfying whole

This production by Angus Jackson has a lot going for it. Brutus and Cassius in this production are young men; they appear to believe they have a right to rule and agree to rid themselves of, as they see it, a corrupt Caesar. There is a generational tension here, and the revolutionaries' failure comes as much from their inexperience as it does anything else. In addition, Jackson investigates each second in detail and some scenes are remarkable in their clarity. But he has also lost sight of the play as a whole so that the production feels at times as if it is grinding onwards rather than being caught up in a set of events that create their own inescapable volition.

The early scene, for instance, between Brutus and Cassius (Alex Waldmann and Martin Hutson) is beautifully played, with both characters' minds, personalities and motivations being laid open for us. There is a downside, though. The scene lacks the context of danger, that there may be ears over-hearing; the men are, when it comes down to it, plotting Caesar's murder. On the plus side, this Brutus and Cassius are an ill-matched par, and this pays dividends later.

Andrew Woodall's Caesar is very much a no-nonsense soldier. To us he seems genuine enough, and it's hard to see what the conspirators' are complaining about – other than a natural right to rule, which is interesting.

James Corrigan as Antony, on the other hand, makes little impact when he appears on the assassination scene. But this is by design, for when he comes into his own he is striking, a powerful man to watch. There are fleeting moments of cynicism from him, adding an exciting frisson of danger.

The play is a notoriously difficult shape though. And despite their best efforts, Waldmann and Hutson run out of energy and cannot keep this second half afloat.

Much that is good, but flawed, though not fatally.

Cobbler: Joseph Adelakun
Cinna the Conspirator: Ben Allen
Calpurnia: Kristin Atherton


Murulus: David Burnett
Mark Antony: James Corrigan
Metellus Cimber: Paul Dodds
Cinna the Poet: Patrick Drury
Soothsayer: Waleed Elgadi
Cassius: Martin Hutson
Publius: Tom Lorcan
Carpenter: Luke MacGregor
Casca: Tom McCall
Portia: Hannah Morrish
Trebonius: Anthony Ofoegbu
Decius Brutus: Dharmesh Patel
Waiting Woman: Lucy Phelps
Octavius: Jon Torcy
Brutus: Alex Waldmann
Lepidus: Marcello Waltron
Julius Caesar: Andrew Woodall

Director: Andrew Jackson
Designer: Robert Innes
Lighting: Tim Mitchell
Music: Mira Caix
Sound: Carolyn Downing
Movement: Scott Ambler
Fights: Terry King
 
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