Shakespeare: Julius Caesar - Royal Shakespeare Company (DVD)

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Andrew Woodall, James Corrigan, Royal Shakespeare Company, Angus Jackson

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Andrew Woodall (Julius Caesar), James Corrigan (Mark Antony), Martin Hutson (Cassius), Jon Tarcy (Octavius), Alex Waldmann (Brutus), Patrick Drury (Publius/Cinna the Poet), Hannah Morrish (Portia), Kristin Atherton (Calpurnia), Anthony Ofoegbu (Cicero/Ligarius), David Burnett (Murullus/Trebonius/Pindarus), Marcello Walton (Flavius/Lepidus), Dharmesh Patel (Decius/Messala)

Angus Jackson (director)

Caesar returns from war, all-conquering, but mutiny is rumbling through the corridors of power. Angus Jackson directs Shakespeare’s epic political tragedy, as the race to claim the empire spirals out of control.

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4 Stars

'Angus Jackson and Robert Innes Hopkins, as director and designer of Julius Caesar, usher us into a Rome that, for all its imposing marble columns, is clearly filled with inner turbulence. The great virtue of the production, which is spoken with exemplary clarity, is its nuanced portrayal of the divisions among those conspiring against a dictatorial Caesar. Even in Brutus’s orchard, they break into warring factions. Alex Waldmann portrays Brutus as a troubled neurotic who masks his uncertainty by making a series of wrong-headed decisions: my abiding image is of him sitting alone, after the conspirators have departed, trembling with fear at the task ahead.

It is a good performance but it is Martin Hutson’s brilliant Cassius that dominates proceedings. Snubbed by Caesar and trusting implicitly in Brutus, he is a man who mixes political idealism with tactical shrewdness: I’ve never seen better expressed Cassius’s initial wariness at broaching the idea of assassination or his mounting exasperation at his colleague’s disastrous follies. Everything about this production feels right.' - Michael Billington