A new theatre company has arrived on the
There is probably a greater awareness of the basic set up of Caesar than other Shakespeare plays. The assassination of the Roman general by senators is ingrained to a degree in our collective cultural consciousness, from the Ides of March to 'Friends, Romans, Countrymen'. But there is more to the story here, with the play following the aftermath of these events through to the conclusion of a bloody civil war that would lay the foundations for the
The production propels along at a terrific pace, aided by some subtle cuts that tighten the original script without losing its epic sweep or short-changing the beautiful language of the Bard's writing. There is a confidence to this production and a belief in the relationships at the play's core. This is aided by a tremendous ensemble who all feel impactful, displaying a clarity of language that means the audience never feels lost in proceedings. Laura King makes an imposing Caesar, brimming with self-belief, while Elizabeth Dobson finds the right balance of rage and sorrow that makes Brutus such a tragic character. But the two performances that linger after the play has concluded are Clare Denton's Cassius and Justine Malone's Mark Antony.
The mark of the success of this production is that the gender of its performers quickly stops being something noticed. The skill and craft on display take over and sort of prove the whole point of the endeavour. Because why wouldn't you cast women in these roles if the outcome is great Shakespeare? Shakespeare that is exciting and relevant, as the writer's work needs to be. I must end this review applauding the founders of Nova Theatre: Alexandra Coke (who directs and co-designs, marshalling the whole undertaking with aplomb), Justine Malone (who co-designs, with the costumes being particularly good) and Nancy White (who choreographs the terrific movement). Now please can we have more theatre like this!