18 August 2007

Roman Geezer

Julius Caesar, C

The students of Exeter University take on the Bard's great historical epic with enthusiasm and innovation, perhaps a little too much enthusiasm when it comes to mob violence and set-piece battles though!
Adapting the play to 75 minutes means a lot of the post-assassination to-ing and fro-ing is lost, but this is an acceptable compromise. On the other hand, the abridgements of the earlier scenes mean a loss of some of the moral ambiguity of Brutus' decision to join the plotters. Unforgivably, however, the scene between Portia and Brutus, that slows down the full version of the text, remains here and features the poorest performance in the otherwise well acted piece. One hopes that the director is getting appropriate (ahem!) recompense from Portia for allowing her to take part.
If there is a little too much scene chewing going on this is forgivable as the participants show a lot of skill in their characterisation, the volatile Cassius - whose lowest setting seems to be "Apoplectic" - particularly shines.
With good music choices and a particularly well directed scene amalgamating the plotting with Calpurnia's pleas to Caesar not to attend the Senate, this production more than does justice to its subject matter.

NTW : The hopeless Portia

JTD : The cross-scene direction

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