We take a look at what critics have had to say about Diane Page’s production of Shakespeare’s play.
The Guardian: ** “But rather than feeling the electric danger of an angry, unruled country, the larger scenes often seem loose and scattered. It lacks a tautness. At the start of the show, a marble statue of Caesar stands grandly in the centre of the action, felled at the same time as its likeness’s flesh is stabbed. Once the statue is carried off stage, it’s unclear who or what marks the central force of this unintimidating production.”
The Upcoming: *** “This production has strong potential for passionate debate and questions on how to deal with greedy men taking power, violence and revolution, and the energy of the cast is a key ingredient. But the dilution of the actions and the dim relevance given to the oratory in the play hinder the outcome.”
Culture Whisper: ** “It is difficult to understand why director Diane Page injects so much comedy into a play brimming with blood, subterfuge, and literal backstabbing. The resulting topsy-turvydom means her production has an uneven tone sapping it of any of potential political poignancy.”
WhatsOnStage: *** “A decision to turn Brutus and Cassius into female roles makes for a refreshing dynamic. It highlights the fact that women in ancient Rome were denied power, other than some behind-the-scenes influence wielded by those married to important men (it’s worth noting that one of Antony’s wives, Fulvia, was the first real-life woman to appear on a Roman coin). More saliently, it lets the play again reflect on modern-day politics; querying whether there are enough women in top jobs even now.”
The Reviews Hub: **** “The performances of the cast loom large, however, and the ensemble of eight has absolutely no difficulty commanding the space. Casting by Becky Paris is top tier with every performer bringing exceptional energy and clear communication of language which can feel inaccessible for some audiences. As Brutus, Anna Crichlow is particularly brilliant at unlocking Shakespeare’s words, whilst Charlotte Bate as Cassius emotes (and manipulates) with captivating conviction and heart. Jack Myers as Casca also deserves recognition for his skilful multi-roling and brilliant comic timing, which many of the cast also exhibit, however Myers’ consistently engaging performance is a highlight.”
London Theatre1: **** “Overall, Julius Caesar worked for me. There is a lot of humour in the script, and I do think at times various elements were unnecessarily played for laughs which was a bit of a distraction but on the whole, this production reinforced the greatness of Shakespeare’s works and how, even more than four hundred years after they were written their relevance to the modern world has never diminished.”
Time Out: *** “Still, it’s an entertaining ‘Caesar’ that turns a relative lack of resources to its advantage, especially in the clean, uncluttered storytelling of the first half. It’s gutsy to make the year’s only touring show something different, but despite some hurdles a minimalist version of this play was always going to struggle crossing, the good news is that it’s basically worked. And for that this show deserves respect.”
iNews: ** “It reduces the play’s dangerous populist demagoguery, mob violence, political pragmatism and greasy-pole climbing to earnest speechifying. And though there are some robust performances, elsewhere the acting is vocally and emotionally under-powered, and the staging obstinately flat and static.”
The Stage: ** “Limp interpretation lacking in brutality and clarity of purpose.”
The Telegraph: *** “This modern-dress production has a fine cast but needs more political momentum.”
Julius Caesar continues to play at the Shakespeare’s Globe until the 10th September.