Shakespeare's J.Caesarinterpreted by
Cast & Crew
Matt Jones; Timothy Weston;
David Kirkham; Vincent Adriano;
Alison Albany; Amelia Trantor;
Ami Goldberg; Daniel Csutksai;
Sontaan Hopson; Frederick Hama;
Deb Mulhall - Director;
|Shakespeare's J. Caesar   photographed by John Reeves|
|Review from Sat 9th July 2011. By Maureen Miner Bridges (theatreParty.organizer)|
I enjoyed the play -stayed awake and interested, found the dialogues accessible and related to the portrayal of character.
I appreciated how some of the had been edited to make them more understandable and direct. Some of the strengths
Also, I was struggling to find a positive application of the play to contemporary society. The feeling at the end was one of waste. We had not been convinced that Caesar's assassination was justified, nor had we seen any image of the 'grand new Rome' the conspirators hoped to form. All of the struggles and and the ensuing deaths from war and suicide were based on either self-seeking (Cassius, Antony) or self-delusion (Brutus). I guess that is the situation for most bikie wars, and probably most other conflicts in society today. So the message of ultimate absurdity (of all kinds of reforms and strivings) came through to me. In between there were some lovely interactions between characters and strong portrayals of grief and devotion by the women.
Anyway, those are some of my thoughts. Thanks for putting on such an enjoyable and thought provoking play.
|Review from Sat 9th July 2011. By Weny Lewis (theatre.web)|
I must say a Shakespeare play is always met with certain trepidation. Will it be long and turgid? Will
the quaint archaic language bamboozle a modern LOL audience? Will the cast rise to the challenge? Will
they be up to it? Well, I’m happy to report that the answers to these questions are a resounding: No, No, Yes and Yes. This production zips along with great energy neatly cut into two acts rather than the traditional three. The cast goes all out to make a powerful ensemble performance. And the result is a gripping and passionate play.
It must be a challenge for actors to know how to approach such a play. Especially how to tackle such famous soliloquys, all the while knowing that the words they speak have been shouted from the rooftops so many times before. But these actors deserve credit. They have breathed life into a classic. Top marks to Cassius for a strong portrayal of a passionate, manipulative man. His wonderful maniacal edge gives him new depths. Bravo to Mark Anthony. His funeral speech was a ripper and his tribute to Brutus was moving and real. Julius Caesar was a demanding role too. Commanding, yes; powerful, yes; and all beautifully understated to make us feel a certain sympathy towards him. Good for him, bad for Brutus!
In the other roles, Metalla projected extraordinary menace with her commanding voice, stance and blazing eyes. The Brutus/Portia scene was sensitively done. It was poignant - almost heartbreaking - to see two strong yet gentle individuals struggling with demons known and unknown. And the quivering Cicero warped into a compelling and arrogant Octavius.
The use of music - from many time periods – added to the drama. And the lighting was highly effective. The electrical storm created a scary sense of the doom to come; and the criss-cross rays of light on the backdrop were a great visual element.
All in all, the two acts neatly divvied up Caesar’s death and its terrible ruinous consequences. The questions of moral decency vs ambition, common good vs personal gain, and the age old question of ‘honour’ were tossed around and examined well. Ave Caesar!
Saw the show last night - a wonderful performance! |
And thought the whole ensemble was very strong - congratulations to all!
Thank you for a great night of theatre.
Paul Gilchrist Artistic Director www.subtlenuance.com
Review by Brad Syke; SILOBreaker, Showbiz research. |
The irrepressible Roz Riley, who in so many ways is Factory Space Theatre Company, has loosened the directorial reins a little, inviting Deb Mulhall to direct the company’s latest production, Bill Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Mulhall has had the audacity to challenge the adage, ‘when in Rome’, taking the play off the streets of the Italian capital and centre of that ancient empire and onto streets a little more akin to our own. It’s Mad Max meets the empire, with desperate, rival bikie gangs roaming the ‘burbs.
And it almost works. Mulhall has had the good judgment to adapt Shakespearean lingo to a more contemporary cadence, with attendant gestures and mannerisms. The only problem is the decision has been applied all too selectively, making for a confusion of styles. The rest of the speech falls all too easily into an exaggerated declamatory style that’s almost laughable. Nonetheless, it probably doesn’t look any quainter than anything Larry did way back when.
It’s as much Rooty Hill as Rome, but the Romans, the gang ramping up local terror, are thinking man’s bikies, with their hearts in the right place (much like the Hell’s Angels annual Christmas toy run, but with more at stake). Olivia Gailiunas graffiti art has much to contribute and it’s a pity it hasn’t been deployed much more extensively, rather than rely on a couple of curtains and some reasonably deft lighting design, by Taylor Allen, which must serve to define ghostly presences. If you have an idea, it’s a better one if you carry it through.
Alison Albany’s Metalla has greatly impressive vocal clarity, even if her looks and postures are sometimes a little overdone. Given her Hellfire Retreat getup, perhaps she could be called Metallica. Fred Hama has a magnificently resonant vocal instrument, but its potential is compromised by one of the ‘thckst’ Kiwi ‘excents’ I’ve ever heard, even in the deep south of that small nation. Physically, he doesn’t seem to know what to do and shuffles from foot to foot distractingly.
Dave Kirkham is a miscast Caesar. For a start, I’ve always imagined someone much smaller, with a bigger ego. His carriage tends to be the same from role to role and isn’t that of a world leader or all-conquering, feared hero. In fact, in his daggy daks, he looks more like a burnt-out hippy. Amelia Tranter, as Casca, slips into a contemporary vernacular which works a treat, although she, too, succumbs to some parodical histrionics later on.
Sontaan Hopson gives a chilled Lucia, also very much in a here-and-how style which creates far more interest than allowing sundry actors to indulge long-held fantasies of Burtonesque dramatic bravado. Moreover, she shows versatility as, donning a blond wig, she doubles as the more deferential, devoted Calpurnia, Caesar’s main squeeze.
Tim Weston makes for an emaciated Mark Antony and the skinniest bikie known to man, but there’s nothing emaciated about his performance, which is robust, at least within the confines of the aforementioned caveats re declamation. His physique, though, makes for a dubious choice for the role, even if designed to confront stereotypes. Perhaps some stereotypes should be left well enough alone.
Matt Jones’ Brutus is played with all the unremittingly principled, upright character that’s written into the role, but I would’ve liked to have seen a little more irony, such that we question, all the more, his motives and whether or not they’re driven by the same or similar egocentricity as Caesar’s. But Jones’ diction and attractive timbre can hardly be faulted.
Cassius is played very well indeed, by Vincent Andriano. He completely captures Cassius’ ‘end justified the means’ outlook and is easily the most successful on stage insofar as portraying complexity and multidimensionality.
Daniel Csutkai is Cicero (and Octavius, in which role he seems, perhaps, more comfortable), and fulfils the part of the orator. Directorially, though, an opportunity was sorely missed: why not have the speeches accompanied by flashes and SLR-drives, to bring the action into the present? Ami-Starr Goldberg’s Portia couldn’t be more tragically deported. It’s quite fine insofar as it goes but, as with Brutus’, the character isn’t really believable thanks to the narrowness of interpretation. (Back to you, Deb.) Finally, Holly Butler’s Messala passes muster, while, like numerous of her colleagues, doesn’t necessarily leave much of an impression that’s in any way memorable.
At the end of the day, this is a competent and interesting production, which might be also-ran if not for the talent and skill, particularly, of Andriano. Directorially, there are ideas here, but they haven’t been capitalised on. Pity, for, given a little more application, this might’ve been a dish fit for the gods.
And a footnote: again, as seems to be the wont of Factory Space productions in general, many scenes are interrupted, mediated and despoiled by a lush score more befitting Lord Of The Rings. I’m no purist, but interfering with Shakespeare’s text is a dubious and dangerous game. The music is in the words.