Review: Julius Caesar at the Bridge Theatre, London | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Review: Julius Caesar at the Bridge Theatre, London

Culture writer Sophie Uyttenhove reviews the immersive production of Julius Caesar at the recently opened Bridge Theatre in London.

I’ll admit that I had no idea what to expect when I booked tickets for this show. I had never seen a play where the audience was so involved in the onstage action, but I have to say that for £15, it was good value for money. This incredible production was unique, and unlike any other I have ever seen before – it was simply sensational.

This incredible production was unique, and unlike any other I have ever seen before – it was simply sensational
More expensive seating surrounded the stage, with stall and circle places being available, but the cheaper pit tickets enabled us to feel a part of the powerful piece. Though this involved standing for two hours, it also enabled the audience to move around the versatile stage along with the actors, and feel their presence during scenes such as Caesar’s rallies and Mark Antony’s speech, in an interactive way that allowed the audience to engage with the most action-packed scenes. We became part of the ‘mob’, and were constantly swayed between each side following every powerful speech.

Coupled with the spectacular special effects, which included surround sound, atmospheric background music and ambient lighting, this staging ensured that the audience were kept on their feet at all times and heightened the action even further. The cast members acting within the pit audience further enabled the full immersion of the audience into the show, and the lack of interval prevented a break from ruining the building tense mood.

Spectacular special effects, which include surround sound, atmospheric background music and ambient lighting

The modern twist added further freshened up the whole aesthetic – the actors all donned 21st century clothing, modern props such as a tin-roofed bus shelter appeared, and battles, executions and suicides revolved around gun warfare. The band added their own grungy touch prior to the start of the play. Flyers promoting Caesar drifted through the audience and acted as realistic, tone-setting propaganda.

Ben Whishaw made for a poignant and convincing Brutus, capturing his complex character by aptly conveying his emotional journey, from plotting to assassinate Caesar to carrying out the deadly task, to becoming isolated, defeated, and eventually committing suicide. Cassius played by Michelle Fairley, made the perfect platonic partner in crime for him. Passionate and loyal, Cassius felt like the Ying to Brutus’ Yang, balancing his outspoken personality by taking on a steelier approach to their cause. Caesar, while still alive, had his fatal flaws openly demonstrated by David Calder, coming across as complacent about his long-term power as well as foolhardy, but also a victim of his own trusting nature, conflicted with his desire for power and recognition. The fact that no party seems fully guilty nor purely innocent made the plot all the more intriguing.

Julius Caesar was the first production at the new Bridge Theatre in London. More information on their upcoming productions can be found here.

 



Published

4th May 2018 at 9:00 am



Images from

The Bridge Theatre Website



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