Julius ‘Call Me Caesar’ Caesar
William Shakespeare and Owen McCafferty
Alex Ferguson, Natalie Allison, and Helena Doughty
Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose
Here we are in for a bit of storytelling (an understatement). We are told upfront. A human Cliff-Notes or Wikipedia. Andrew Maxwell, at full volume and full speed ahead, takes on all the characters as well as a kind of “chorus” in the telling of Julius Caesar as rewritten by Owen McCafferty and directed by Russell Bolam. Yes, we get all of it and more.
The hurricane on stage in the personage of Andrew Maxwell sets up the concept; nobody should be left behind. Here Maxwell takes on all the characters not so much for “playing” or “acting” of the roles as for a better understanding of the story: his chief cause. He whips up the audience / Romans: “Caesar. Caesar, Caesar.” There is dancing in the streets. He dances. He brings us along to the murder.
If you know the story, it’s all the more fun. If you don’t know the story, you will by the end.
Maxwell never stops moving, except occasionally, panting, to catch his breath. He manage so wrestle himself out of his mic; not needed anyway. So not needed. He does not lack for amplitude.
Playwright Owen McCafferty and director (and hurricane tamer) Russell Bolam have found the perfect performer to deliver this story and the telling. He has mastered the material and the stage. Although bits are left out or may not be quite faithful to the Shakespeare text, you get the story. A bit of cutting of the McCafferty part of the text would be welcomed. But we’re never lost or bored or confused. Exhausted? Yes. But what fun.
Reviewer: Catherine Lamm