Ticketmaster Summer in Stages

Julius Caesar

William Shakespeare
The Space London

Julius Caesar

As you enter the theatre, you can’t miss the placard-waving crowd in their high-visibility jackets that are marked with the symbols that deliberately resemble those of Extinction Rebellion (XR), the organisation that campaigns against climate change. The UnDisposables' Julius Caesar couldn't look or sound more contemporary.

The placards say “Make the Planet Great Again” and “Fuck the complicit media”. (I wondered if Trump had written them.)

It’s a gathering to welcome back Julius Caesar, who is growing in popularity, after his recent successes. But some people fear he is in danger of taking over their non-hierarchical organisation. Something must be done and Rachel Wilkes as a physically restless Cassius is determined to rouse up other rebels, particularly the measured, reflective Brutus (Sarah Dean), to defend democracy.

But this production doesn’t follow the more conmen approach of just encouraging audiences to sympathise with the rebels. Instead, both sides in this great conflict appear worthy of our support. Caesar, played by Isobel Hughes, is no militaristic bully. Neither is Anthony (Romomo Sikdar-Rahman) quite the wily playboy, lying without principle, in order to destroy those in his way. Crucially, this production cuts the scene in which Anthony sits with Octavius Caesar deciding who they should execute and what loot it will bring them.

You might quibble with the slant they take on Anthony, or shake your head as I did at the improbable idea of XR heading the state, but there is no denying the engaging, fluent delivery of the text. This is a very fine, clear and coherent production.

Reviewer: Keith Mckenna