Julius Caesar: William Shakespeare, RSC @ The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford Upon Avon, 4**** Rod Dungate. Audio Described Performance 1 April 2023.

Atri Banerjee’s production of Caesar is vigorous and thought through.  It has a youthful feel about it; apposite for today with an appealing immediacy.  Yet there is a sombre thought supporting it all – that the decision we and others make in the past have a direct impact on us and our present.

The reality of the power struggles within the play are supported by the non-reality of the ubiquitous influence of Fate (the ever-present manifestation of the Soothsayer (a youthful Annabel Baldwin) and Fates figures.)  The unsettling feelings produced from all this are much magnified by Jasmin Kent Rodgman’s superb score and the small ensemble of players; in particular the haunting singing of Alexandra Ferrari and the blasting, searing tone of Jusuf Narcin’s low trombone.

Banerjee does not lose sight of the storytelling; the text is clear, and the narrative moves swiftly, holding our attention.  This is especially true and welcome in the second half, the discussions between Brutus and Cassius and the battles. 

Nigel Barrett Caesar is not a presentation of power, but a rather affable chap (Ceasar’s a geezer) – I think we would mind when he is assassinated.  except we are told by the powers that be not to be sad, but pleased, so we are pleased.  That is, until we are told not to be pleased, so we are not pleased.  Shakespeare’s view of Everyman and Everywoman could be seen as cynical; but seems to me certainly accurate in an age when populists can so easily manipulate public opinion.

 Thalissa Teixeira gives us a Brutus whom we totally believe is honest; crucially bringing the pay’s dilemma to the fore.

There is a touching relationship between Brutus and their servant Lucius (Jamal Ajala).  This is beautifully brought out in this production in that all communications with Lucius (and Brutus has the great portion) are signed.

There is terrific movement throughout (movement by Jennifer Jackson); a spirit of holiday and dance is quickly transmuted into magic ritual.

Audio Description is well conceived leaving space for the many important debates and duologues to find their own way.

Shakespeare was using his version of this Roman story to reflect the unstable and dangerous nature of power and politics in his Age; this RSC production reflects the unstable and dangerous nature of the same in many parts of our world today, including, may I suggest, the back-stabbings within the present UK government.


Julius Ceasar – Nigel Barrett

Calpurnia – Jimena Larraguivel

Brutus – Thalissa Teixeira

Portia – Nadi Kemp-Sayfi

Cassius – Kelly Gough

Casca – Matthew Bulgo

Cinna the Conspirator – Robert Jackson

Decius Brutus – Gina Isaac

Metellus Cimber – Tom Kanji

Trebonus – Pedro Leandro

Caius Ligarius – Katie Erich

Mark Anthony – William Robinson

Octavius Ceasar – Ella Dacres

Cicero – Matt Ray Brown

Soothdayser – Annabel Baldwin

Joshua Dunn, Mercedes Addas, Robert Jackson, Jamal Ajala, Niamh Finlay, Katie Erich


Lindsey Miller, Alezandra Ferrari, Yusuf Narcin, Daniel Kemshell, James Gorman


Director – Atri Banerjee

Designer – Rosanna Vize

Costume Designers – Rosanna Vize & Tomas Palmer

Lighting – Lee Curran

Composer – Jasmin Kent Rodgman

Sound – Claire Windsor

Movement – Jennifer Jackson

Fights – Rachel Brown-Williams & Ruth Cooper Brown

Animation – Adam Sinclair

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