Oddsocks takes a stab at Julius Caesar on UK tour

Published: 24 May 2024
Reporter: Steve Orme

Cameron Robertson, who will play Julius Caesar
Mark Peachey, who will take the role of Cassius
Matthew Christmas, who will play Mark Antony

Derbyshire-based touring company Oddsocks Productions has been invited to perform for the first time at the county’s Ashbourne Festival.

The company, which has a reputation for performing Shakespeare in a family-friendly, will stage Julius Caesar at three open-air Derbyshire venues as part of its summer 2024 UK and Channel Island tour.

The “most famous political coup in literature” will be given the Oddsocks treatment and audiences can expect “the tearing of togas, the swishing of Roman swords, some preposterous puppetry and the biggest battle scene five actors have ever created”.

Celebrating 35 years of touring nationally and internationally, Oddsocks is a family-run theatre company led by Andy Barrow and Elli Mackenzie, who also happen to be husband and wife. Both appear in Julius Caesar.

Artistic director Barrow said, “playing to our home audience is a highlight of our touring year. As a family company with roots in the area, it’s very special.”

Creative producer Mackenzie added, “we’re delighted to have been asked to appear at Offcote Grange as part of Ashbourne Festival. It’s always a treat to be able to spend time in our own home region and the site at Offcote Grange is so beautiful. We can’t wait to see the audience laughing along at our silliness.”

Barrow will play Marcus Brutus while Mackenzie will take several roles including Calpurnia, Casca and Portia. Cameron Robertson will join Oddsocks for the first time and will play Julius Caesar, Octavius and Titinius.

Matthew Christmas will return for his second Oddsocks summer tour after playing Don Pedro and Don Jon in Much Ado About Nothing in 2023. He will play Mark Antony and Cinna as well as other characters.

Mark Peachey, whose extensive career includes roles in The Wizard of Oz, A Streetcar Named Desire and Richard III at Leicester’s Curve, Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre and The Comedy of Errors for Oddsocks, will play Cassius and Lucilius in Julius Caesar.

Julius Caesar, adapted by Barrow, will be presented at the Coach House, Lea, Derbyshire on Sunday 16 June, Markeaton Craft Village, Markeaton Park, Derby from Thursday 27 until Saturday 29 June and at Offcote Grange on Saturday 6 July.

The Oddsocks tour starts on Friday 7 June at Walton Hall Gardens, Warrington. It visits Buxton, Tamworth, Liverpool, Coventry, Cumbria, Cheshire, Bromsgrove, Mansfield, Harrogate, Redcar, Telford, Billingham, Warwickshire, Tewksbury, Leeds, Cobham, Brighton, Wareham, Guernsey, Jersey, Sark and Solihull until Tuesday 13 August.

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