Jul. 04, 2012 - Issue #872: The Beer Issue
Shakespeare's tragedy Julius Caesar did not have a co-conspirator in nature this weekend.
With the sun shining and the multitude of birds singing their hearts out, my initial thought was that it might be a little difficult to get down to serious business. However, with the first scene came a passionate energy that didn't leave the stage until the show had ended.
The cast members of this production of Julius Caesar maintained a degree of conviction in their characters—and indeed, in the play—that was thoroughly refreshing to experience. Aside from one tacky murder scene that momentarily kills the intensity, this production does the tragedy justice in the way that it represents the debate about patriotism and political murder with depth and authority.
Julius Caesar has been the source of debate for Bard lovers for some time. Who, truly, is the protagonist, the villain, the tragic hero? Directing and acting choices shine in this respect, as most actors do a superb job at delivering a nuanced performance that ensures the audience sees a bit of each of these archetypes in each of them.
Chris Bullough as Brutus portrays conflicted and complicated well, and achieves an eerie calming effect on the otherwise urgent energy of the happenings on stage. One performance in particular—where Portia (Belinda Cornish) begs Brutus to tell her of the plot that has taken him over—shines as a should-be yardstick for portrayals of certain Shakespearean female characters.
There are a select few scenes in the production that should have weighed heavy on the hearts of audience members but missed their mark due to some rather rushed deliveries. On the whole, however, it is clear that the cast had a sharp grasp on what they wanted to convey—both individually and as a group—and this definitely comes across to the audience. Artistic choices in makeup and set were puzzling but at times esthetically intriguing, and Dave Clarke's sound design was fantastic. In all, though Julius Caesar will never find a place on my list of favourite Shakespearean plays, the skillful performances in this production make it a captivating watch. vueweekly.com comments: powered by Disqus
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