Julius Caesar

Wasn't impressed, which was surprising! We saw the RSC's Taming of the Shrew a couple years ago, and Romeo and Juliet sometime in the interval since, and thought they were both dynamic, modern interpretations of Shakespeare. Good job, RSC, keep doing what you'e doing.

This one felt stale. The stage was mostly bare, but for a giant rotating cube that the actors could climb on top or inside of. Costumes were generic, the whole cast clad in modern-day dress in shades of grey and beige with no indication of rank or status, which didn't help to distinguish senators from proles or, indeed, Caesar from anyone else. The ghosts of dead characters came back in lively colours, but I couldn't discern the meaning of this. Significant scenes were questionably punctuated by industrial music and the whole cast coming together for a bit of rhythmic dancing. I'm not sure what the meaning of this was either, but it robbed the performance of inertia.

A couple of other complaints: rather than red blood, conspirators marked Caesar with a thick black ink when they pounced—but the black ink didn't stand out against the characters' black-and-grey outfits, and the inkstains stuck around for the rest of the play. I get the sense that the director was trying to indicate, Macbeth-like, that the stain of murder was upon them, but it just made the cast look shabby—not bloodstained.

Finally, I'm not sure if this is the fault of the directing, the acting, or the play itself, but everything that comes after Caesar's death felt messy, muddy, unclear. I get that the play is just trying to tie up loose ends after the intermission, but the play seemed to be doing its utmost to shed my attention.

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