Yonder ‘Julius’ loses its way

JOE WOODWARD reviews “Julius Caesar”, at the Canberra Theatre until August 13

BELL Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” might be enjoyed for its clarity of vocal work alone. 

The actors achieved a high level mastery of Shakespeare’s text. They exploited the rhythmic quality in a way that made it highly accessible for contemporary audiences. However, while the delivery was close to flawless, the production struggled to find its meaning as it progressed to its conclusion.

A lack of commitment to some of the conventions established in the opening scenes meant slow movement sequences and ritualised entrances and exits became adjuncts to the production rather than integral to its overall shape.

These extraneous elements were further complicated with a bizarre use of scaffolding towards the end of the play. The rhythm of the work suffered and, as a result, key death scenes were de-focused.

While the actors managed to maintain a connection to the plot and to the dialogue, it became difficult to grasp the point.

Colin Moody provided depth in a very human portrayal of Brutus; yet he had his final scenes bled of coherence by some awkward stage business that both distracted and then cluttered the performance.

While the individual performances were generally engaging, the production seemed to lose its way with an unclear relationship between design, direction and ultimately what the play was attempting to say.

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