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Julius Caesar

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#21 Epicoene

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 09:57 AM

It takes approximately 10 years to see the complete canon if you just cover London and Stratford and just see "major" productions rather than fringe. If you travel around the country you can do it quicker. Obvously this excludes any "complete works" festivals that may happen.

#22 KevinUK

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 10:14 PM

Travel to see Shakespeare? I don't even travel to see my parents! I'm in no rush to see them all, it's just nice to finally get what he's all about - schools should be shot for the way they force him onto pupils as a book.
If I stay awake, it must be good.

#23 KevinUK

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 10:17 PM

Oh, and I popped along to buy my £5 ticket, a nice front row seat. They're doing Much Ado About Nothing after, also £5, but no I told the box office Mr Man it's already crossed off my list (to which he admitted it is slightly over done!).
If I stay awake, it must be good.

#24 David J

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 09:31 AM

In comparison to Lucy Bailey's 2009 version, this production was character driven, and the actors were excellent in their roles. Jeffrey Kisson presents an old and overweight Caesar. Whilst tired and weary, his Caesar is a firm and proud leader who looks to become king. Ray Fearson meanwhile was the highlight of the production as the charismatic Mark Antony. At first he is shown as a laid back, young man in casual clothes. Yet his "Friends. Romans, Countrymen" speech was ferocious, and together with the passionate chanting from the crowds the speech was charged with grief and rage.

Paterson Joseph gave a very interesting performance as Brutus. In showing this complex character, his Brutus seemed to have personality traits that were similar to Antony and Caesar, the combination of which would prove fatal for him. Like Antony he was charismatic and easy-going. He wore casual clothing which contrasted Cassius' military style uniform. Yet like Julius Caesar his Brutus was a proud one, who spoke with brashness and joviality, especially when he decides to let Antony live. Even before the Battle of Philippi, he walks around in a vest and acts with brazenness when Cassius angrily confronts him. From the very start one wonders whether Cassius would have been the better leader for the conspiracy.

Elsewhere, Adjou Andoh played a strong willed Portia. Joseph Mydell was an eccentric Casca, who hints at Caesar's true motivations when he describes the leader's reaction to being offered the crown. Theo Ogundipe plays a more prominent role as the Soothsayer. At times he comes on during scenes that do not include him, in order to hint at the events that have yet to happen. His voice sounded unearthly as spoke "Beware the Ides of March", to which the crowd clicked their fingers as though mentioning this unfavourable day was bad enough. There is a sense of spiritualism around this character, who is covered in chalkish paint and wears traditional clothing. He even observes Caesar's assassination, and as the scene leads up to the moment he looks up at the sky and his body seemed to pulse intensely. Once Caesar is dead, he fell to the ground and became almost animal-like.

Whilst the set never takes over in this production, it was very impressive. The stage is laden with stone slabs and it reminds one of the ruins of Ancient Rome. Beyond a flight of stone steps, a large statue of Julius Caesar stands before a wall of metal sheets and dominates the background. I must say though that apart from the occasional statement, the production never had a lot to say on it's African setting. If there was one thing I would give Lucy Bailey's production props for, is that it always had something to say about Ancient Rome and the way it manifests itself in violence, even if it did overshadow the acting.

What is great about this production however, is that they integrated Julius Caesar into this new setting so well. Before the production even starts, the citizens of Rome are seen out on the streets in colourful T-shirts, waving banners, lying on the ground fanning themselves in the heat, and dancing to some African music, as they celebrate Caesar's victory over Pompey. The whole show felt as if the play has been set in Africa all this time. Praise to the members of a band, aptly named The Vibes of March, for providing some excellent musical pieces, particularly after the performance when they came into the foyer to play some more music.


Out of the three I have now seen, this is the best Julius Caesar production so far. It was not a thought-provoking production, yet it did well in setting the play in Africa to the point where it looked genuine. Attention was given to the characters and the actors did wonders playing their roles, especially Ray Fearon as Mark Antony. This production is worthy of a Full Price.


Full Price


My reviews can also be found at "A Night at the Theatre"

http://www.anightatthetheatre.co.uk/

#25 dude-1981

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 11:16 AM

View PostEpicoene, on 02 July 2012 - 09:57 AM, said:

It takes approximately 10 years to see the complete canon if you just cover London and Stratford and just see "major" productions rather than fringe. If you travel around the country you can do it quicker. Obvously this excludes any "complete works" festivals that may happen.

Interesting.  I've seen 22 since 2010 (seen a couple years before that, but not counting those) and have another booked (Timon) and then will see this production and T&C at the Riverside.  But it's already becoming harder to see new ones.
If, for some strange reason you care what I've seen, it's all here:

http://pcchan1981.livejournal.com/

#26 Lynette

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 12:07 PM

Nice review David, thanks. The relationship between Brutus and Cassius was very well done I thought. C needs B to legitimise the murder but C is the better military leader who has to give in to B cos he has the kudos. So they are a tragic combination. It's brilliant and I think better brought out here than in other productions I've seen. And I agree, Mark Antony awesome. So many of these themed versions go wrong but here the acting was solid, the text paramount and I loved the way the accented speech worked so well.

#27 Honoured Guest

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 10:20 AM

A final, ninth, tour date has been added - Moscow Arts Theatre, 14 - 17 Nov 2012.
http://westend.broad...r-2012-20120712

#28 Epicoene

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 07:25 AM

View PostLynette, on 05 June 2012 - 09:34 PM, said:

Loved it, every minute. Shows that you can update and change and make all sorts of contemporary references without mucking up the play. Special mentions to Ray Fearon the best Mark Antony I've ever seen and Cyril Nri, Cassius and Paterson Joseph as Brutus. Two hours and ten minutes no interval.

Not any more, two hours fifty minutes with a 20 minute interval. What has happened to this production - have they actually re-instated 20 minutes of cuts they made ? Were they playing a shortened version just to prepare for the TV broadcast of it ?

#29 Honoured Guest

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 10:48 AM

According to the RSC website, the running times are 2hrs 15mins with no interval in Stratford and 2hrs 15mins plus an interval everywhere else. This suggests that no cuts have been reinstated. Perhaps the London audience laughed more?

#30 Epicoene

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 10:54 AM

View PostHonoured Guest, on 07 September 2012 - 10:48 AM, said:

According to the RSC website, the running times are 2hrs 15mins with no interval in Stratford and 2hrs 15mins plus an interval everywhere else. This suggests that no cuts have been reinstated. Perhaps the London audience laughed more?

It started fairly promptly (a few minutes late) and the interval was exactly 20 minutes. They must have slowed down a lot if it was the same text - we didn't even get the funeral orations till after the interval (which came at 90 minutes) so it is hard to see how they could ever have done the remainder of the play in 45 minutes.





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