Spada Productions re-imagines Julius Caesar and promises to be 'bold' and 'daring', and to an extent, it is. Just probably not in the way intended. When performing a Shakespeare play for a contemporary audience, I feel the piece must have a strong sense of place and time. There are endless re-imaginings of all of Shakespeare's plays happening all over the world, and if the majority of them are loosely set in a dystopian future (such as this one), then how are audiences expected to be gripped or excited?
The strength of the piece lies within its females. Kerry Fitzgerald is strong and striking as Mark Anthony and engages ferociously with the text. The same can be said for Brendee Green and her sincere and emotional portrayal of Portia. Both performers are grounded and give depth and intelligibility to their characters. Cassius, played by Mitch Howell is a strange sexual creature (identical to Petyr from What We Do In The Shadows). Howell gives maximum energy to the text and his characterisation throughout. Viking-like Matt Daniels provides a boyish Brutus, and is a strong performer when he is focused.
Directed by William Vercelli, the most bizarre element of this production has to be the nudity. It seems so unnecessary in almost every place it is used and is worryingly leaving all actors involved in a vulnerable state. Surely we shouldn't be holding back laughter each time Caesar enters the stage with angel wings in-tow. There are far better ways to convey a passionate scene between two characters without them having to completely get their kit off and pose in awkward sexual tableaux's to some downright awful and cheesy music. Ten gold stars for bravery, but it seems the nudity has been plonked into this piece for effect. Sadly, despite some excellent performances, the play is trampled on by awkward direction.
Written by @_FayeButler