‘Julius Caesar’ review

Theatre, Drama
0 Love It
Save it
 (© Manuel Harlan)
1/11
© Manuel Harlan Ben Whishaw (Brutus)
 (© Manuel Harlan)
2/11
© Manuel Harlan Ben Whishaw (Brutus)
 (© Manuel Harlan)
3/11
© Manuel Harlan Abraham Popoola
 (© Manuel Harlan)
4/11
© Manuel Harlan David Calder (Caesar)
 (© Manuel Harlan)
5/11
© Manuel Harlan David Morrissey (Mark Antony)
 (© Manuel Harlan)
6/11
© Manuel Harlan David Morrissey (Mark Antony)
 (© Manuel Harlan)
7/11
© Manuel HarlanBen Whishaw (Brutus) and Michelle Fairley (Cassius)
 (© Manuel Harlan)
8/11
© Manuel Harlan David Morrissey (Mark Anthony) and Ben Whishaw (Brutus)
 (© Manuel Harlan)
9/11
© Manuel Harlan Michelle Fairley (Cassius) and Adjoa Andoh (Casca)
 (© Manuel Harlan)
10/11
© Manuel Harlan Rosie Ede (Marallus) and Sid Sagal (Flavius)
 (© Manuel Harlan)
11/11
© Manuel Harlan Zachary Hart, Abraham Popoola, Fred Fergus, Kit Young (Street Band)

Ben Whishaw is a nervy Brutus in Nicholas Hytner's furiously exciting take on Shakespeare's Roman tragedy

This populist production of history’s most popular play about populism casts you as the populace. Nicholas Hytner’s in-the-round take on Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’ replaces the stalls with a promenade area in which the audience mills about and fills in as the people of Rome. It kicks off with a live rock band bashing out ‘Seven Nation Army’ and scarcely lets up from there, walloping you around the head with enough dopamine to fell a baby elephant.

After opening his new Bridge Theatre with the so-so ‘Young Marx’, Hytner is back in his element with Shakespeare: his modern dress National Theatre interpretations of the Bard were pretty much all stunners. Nonetheless, there’s a fair amount of risk here, not just because of the immersive elements, but in Hytner taking a gamble on forgoing his usual nuance in favour of something more blaring and filmic.

Caesar (David Calder) is an applause-loving old ham with a natty line in red MAGA-style baseball caps (yours for £4 a go). He is not exactly Donald Trump, but the parallels are pretty apparent and he shares the tangerine tyrant’s desperation for the adulation of the mob.

Opposing him is the reliably excellent Ben Whishaw as a nervy, bookish Brutus. He is, I suppose, a classic liberal intellectual. Terrified of the dictator’s drift towards autocracy, he comes to believe in his naive desperation that the assassination of Caesar will fix the republic. Hytner’s production isn’t subtle but it’s not dumb, and is very good on the impossibility of combatting populists with reasoned argument: when Caesar is struck down by a heavy-hearted Brutus, David Morrissey’s bluff, dissembling Mark Antony simply steps into his place. Whishaw’s unworldly Brutus has completely failed to comprehend that another power-hungry leader would simply step into the vacuum left by Caesar’s death.

Nonetheless, Hytner doesn’t labour the lecturing in a production that for the most part unfolds like a chic, glossy spy thriller, contrasting Caesar’s brash rule with the irresistible gathering momentum of the conspiracy against him, headed by the reluctant Brutus and Michelle Fairley’s flinty Cassius. And it’s all tremendously gripping. Or at least it was standing up – I can’t speak for how it looks from the seats – as we’re hustled around Bunny Christie’s spare, flexible set by ‘security’.

Truth be told, the thrillerish aesthetic slightly founders in the final half hour, when the dogs of war are let slip and the conspirators enter a slightly underwhelming all-out confrontation with Mark Antony. But this isn’t uncommon in productions of this play, and Hytner keeps it all barrelling along at such a pace that you barely notice a drop-off as it whizzes by with all the sickening lurch of twenty-first century politics.

By: Andrzej Lukowski

Posted:

To improve this listing email: feedback@timeout.com

Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:24
  • 4 star:15
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|40
2 people listening
1 of 1 found helpful
tastemaker

REALLY amazing production!!! I have been to immersive theatres before and this one is one of the most fabulous and innovative productions I have ever seen. Apart from the creative way that the set is changing all the time, actors are also brilliant! Whishaw act is absolutely fantastic, but personally I really loved Michelle Fairley as Cassius. Never seen her in a role like that and she is marvellous. Even if you are not a Shakespeare fan, this play is accessible and a very different experience to the theatres you are used to. My advice: get standing seat!

1 of 1 found helpful
tastemaker

FABULOUS but not for the faint of heart! I honestly didn’t think this play would be for me, but I really, really enjoyed it!

The actors are absolutely fantastic and the ever moving and changing ‘stage’ made this performance modern, exciting, and emersive.

There are loud noises, flashes of light, and you will need to jump out of shouting people’s way frequently if you’re standing, but honestly I think that made it all the better. I felt so involved in the play and it, therefore, held my attention in a way that most Shakespeare doesn’t.

1 of 1 found helpful
tastemaker

Stop everything you're doing. Put down the coffee. Turn off the Netflix. Cancel the pub plans. And go see this play. 


This is one of the most brilliant, innovative productions I have ever seen. I have read Julius Caesar twice and seen one other production, and I feel as though I never really understood the play before seeing this one. It is fast-paced, action-packed, and entirely relatable to the modern age. 


The acting is superb. The set is... can't even describe how brilliant the movements and scene changes are... my biggest advice is to GET A STANDING SEAT. You will be so disappointed if you're not standing near the stage and in the madness. 


Cannot recommend enough. I am going to get tickets to go again - it was that brilliant. 


1 of 1 found helpful
tastemaker

Absolutely fantastic production. From the opening concert, all the way through the production, the crowd are fully immersed in the show as the stage grows, shrinks and evolves around you.


Brilliant performances all around with Ben Wishaw a highlight. Very accessible production for those who are both a lover of Julius Caesar and Shakespeare and those who only have a passing interest.


I really enjoyed the fact it was a straight 2 hour show, without the need of a break, as it keeps the drama flowing and the crowd engaged.


Get a ticket while you can. We were in the standing section and I would highly recommend it to everyone! 

1 of 1 found helpful
tastemaker

If you're looking for Shakespeare performed in a coherent (the mark of actor's who truly understand Shakespeare), original, inspiring way -go and see Julius Caesar.

If you're looking for an "immersive" theatrical experience, there are probably better things to see. The standing audience is not particularly immersed in the performance, but ushers come in every so often to ask you to move out of the way of the incredibly dynamic set changes.


The mesmerising acting talent is enough that the friend I watched with asked when we can go again.


You can check your bags and coats into the cloakroom, and all staff I came into contact with were incredible, going above and beyond the call of duty.

1 of 1 found helpful

Beg, borrow or steal to get a ticket. Absolutely stunning production with fantastic use of the space. Poor dumbed down and stolid RSC Julius Caesar had the misfortune to be on at the same time as this stunning immersive and thrilling production. Feels very much like a landmark. Whishaw and Morrisey will be battling out acting awards next year. Oh and try to get a standing audience spot. You will not regret it. Although Young Marx was good, this is the first complete triumph for The Bridge.

tastemaker

Such a great experience.  As a bit of a Shakespeare nerd I was completely captivated the whole way through.  Staging was ingenious, cast was incredible and the setting totally worked.  I totally recommend getting the standing tickets, you really feel like part of the performance as the cast weave their way around and through the crowd. At points I forgot there were even people sitting down to watch it!  An absolute must for any theatre / Shakespeare fan and worth a visit to anyone looking for an interesting evening out.  Just don't go after a long day on your feet!

tastemaker

This is the best theatre experience I had this year and so good the first time when I got the pit tickets as promenade as a Roman citizen, I went for the second time and got a seated ticket.


Trust me - get the cheapest ticket. You are so close to the set and at some point so close, you could touch Ben Winshaw, that you believe you're part of the cast and production. This is immersive experience at its best as you're not distracted just involved.


The production was superb with quality and world class acting. Ben Winshaw makes the perfect Brutus - studious, idealistic, scholarly, dreamy and completely fatigue and defeated by his pure ambition to only get rid of a symbol of dictatorship. You want to reach out and comfort him and admire his motives and see how different he is from the rest of the characters.


Caesar was the perfect Caesar - not understanding why his power corrupt and eventually killed him.David Morrissey's Marc Anthony was pure greed and strategist, using the hoi poloi to send him to the apex of his ambition.


The stage design was creative, relevant and delivers an additional depth to the play - and was instrumental more than just as props.


A few scenes were outstanding - the shooting of Caesar And the speeches at his funerals.



tastemaker

Excellent adaptation, with a wonderful cast (special mention for Michelle Fairley) and tremendous set design, with the state constantly moving and evolving. Getting pit tickets allows for an immersive experience as you play a Roman citizen, being moved around the floor according to the scene (tickets for this are the cheapest and yet the best).

tastemaker

I've seen Julius Caesar a good few times - including once at The Globe during an absolutely unholy storm - but this production is the one I've enjoyed the most by far. It takes Shakespeare's awesome grasp of rhetoric and transforms it into a political story for our times. The trimming of the script down to one Act doesn't hurt either.


The cast are first class, obviously - just look at the list of names - but the production in no way relies on famous people delivering lines of Shakespeare for its impact. No. The staging is dynamic and exciting, and the music and sound design are similarly fresh. There is a humour that is often missed in favour of heavy drama, and a cynical politics that could have been written in today.


It's a great show, so if you can get there, you really should: totally recommended!

tastemakerTastemaker

WOW. Weeks later, I am still reeling from what I watched - nay, experienced.


I haven't seen any Shakespeare performed since I've moved here (aside form Andrew Scott's Hamlet) so I wasn't sure what to expect - but when I came into the theatre space with my partner, there was a live band playing and people shouting along, getting right into the riotous atmosphere. It really set the tone for the play, which mixed classical words with a modern-day take on how people can seize power. I found it very applicable to the current political climate, especially in the US.


The lines were superbly delivered by all cast members, and the leads in particular were fantastic in character and in all motivation. Those of us in the pit (on the floor) got involved - moving around as props and set pieces were shifted, running away from blasts, cheering when necessary... it was an immersive experience bar none.


I have no fault to find with this play. I loved every minute of it. Please do go and see it!

tastemaker

Whenever you see Shakespeare live, you're reminded of the huge number of words and phrases that he created are so well known today... Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears... beware the ides of March.... Et tu, Brute... the list goes on.


This production fuses the classic story and language of Julius Caesar with fiercely modern undertones. You're thrown straight into a rock gig, that soon unfolds into an immersive and interactive drama. Platforms rise from the ground to display the scenes, and the audience in the standing area are encouraged to cheer and jeer as Caesar makes his great return to Rome.


Needless to say, the cast is world class. To see them up-close-and-personal is quite something. They kept the story alive throughout the 2-hour show, especially with no interval and an audience just 3 inches away from them. 


I can't help but feel that the language could've been modernised just a touch more, though. Enough to make it easier for the audience follow, but not so much that it'd make Shakespeare roll in his grave! 

tastemaker

It's early 2018 but I don't believe I will see anything that will rival Julius Ceasar.

I don't plan to comment on the acting which was superb as I feel others have already done so so I'm going to review the show as a whole and concentrate on the props and stage.

Firstly if you want to go see this I strongly suggest you go for a standing ticket if you think you are able to do so. Its about two hours running time with no interval and not somewhere you can sit on the floor if you get tired. I would say to wear very comfortable shoes, the floor is very hard!

When you get there there's a gig going on. Enjoy and embrace it as that's the only modern things about this play. Shows the actors are multi faceted.

Anyway don't worry about not being so close up to the 'gig'. I say this because the stage actually moves. If you're standing in the right place, it moves to you. Quite literally and deaf defiantly quietly too. That must have been a pretty penny to build!

Everything about this production was well executed. Its a gamble doing something immersive but really pays off. I would say its so well done other theatres could learn a lot from this production and theatre.

Tastemaker

First theatre outing of 2018 and first visit to the Bridge Theatre. Located on the Southbank, nestled between Tower Bridge and City Hall, the building alone warrants a visit - both for the view and the bar offerings (solid place to start a date!). 

Now, on to the play. Though the plot may hold few surprises, this production did however provide much excitement for the audience members on the ground floor, as the stage and actors revolved around them. 

A good effort from the whole cast, with Ben Whishaw and Adjoa Andoh delivering particularly strong performances. And for those who sometimes find themselves ever so slightly lost in Shakespearean script, fear not - the narrative was pretty easy to follow. 

Slight moan - they should probably mention the lack of toilet opportunities before you enter, as there is no interval and by leaving to use the facilities you forego the right to continue watching the play.


Aside from that, it sets the bar high for future theatre this year!

Tastemaker

Shakespeare's Globe theatre was being revolutionary, and was often mocked for it, 20 years ago when it reintroduced groundlings to a London theatre. In essence, watching a play there if seated ensured that you were watching an audience (the groundlings) watch a play. If standing you were often envious of those who got to sit down but also uncomfortably close to the actors, who often entered and exited through the groundling crowd while making eye contact, and both actors and groundlings were being watched by the seated.


This new 'Julius Caesar' at the new Bridge Theatre uses the trappings of the Globe, including 'immersive' (or standing) audience members who are encouraged to act as the mob, welcomed first by a rowdy and very loud rock and roll rally, and then encouraged to really be a mob after the murder of Caesar and during the funeral orations of Brutus and Mark Antony and finally during the battle scenes. But one of the problems, not faced at the Globe, is that this stage frequently changes configuration, with stage hands dressed as security shoving the standing audience back and forth for nearly all the scenes in Acts 3, 4 and 5. Sometimes the shoving is on the dangerous side, causing the 'immersive' audience to scatter likes surprised cockroaches; The payoff for this danger is being able to stand at the feet of Ben Whishaw, brilliant (as always) as a Hamletian Brutus who can't seem to make up his mind, a loud, laddish and fearsome David Morrissey as Mark Antony, a commanding David Calder as Julius Caesar (borrowing from New York's Public Theatre 2017 production in impersonating Trump) and an intense Michelle Fairley (occasionally stumbling over the verse) as Cassius.


The play is creaky, so the trimming of passages to have a running time of two hours for this production is welcome. Although the production is sometimes gimmicky, with some standing members turning out to be vocal actors and political flyers frequently scattered among the crowds, the star casting keeps the production interesting.


While is is exciting to be standing five inches from Ben Whishaw's foot or having David Morrissey spit in your direction during 'Friends, Romans, countryman', being an immersive mob member may not be the best way to see the play. Being seated means watching the scattering mob watch the play, which is usually much more exciting. As a Shakespearean scholar, I'm thrilled at any production that makes us re-think his plays and that draws in enthusiastic audiences, and this production certainly does both.

Tastemaker

The experience starts even before walking through the theatre doors. You get there by walking through some gardens from which you can see all the lights - from right to left, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, the Gherkin, City Hall, the Shard.

The theatre itself is very cool too: only opened since October 2017, it is super modern but nice. It has an awesome bar that also serves homemade finger food and deserts.

The audience is split between the ones sat in stalls on all four sides of the room and the standing ones that are basically part of the play as the stage raises from the ground depending on the scenes and where the characters are in the room. I was myself par tof the mob (the standing people) which had both its upside and downside. Upside: you will feel fully part of the play. Downside: you may or may not die of overheat or a terrible back ache as it was boiling in there and standing without moving much for over two hours is painful.

This play is one of those classic modernised Shakespeare plays. They seem to love those nowadays. I don't think I've ever seen a Shakespeare play that didn't have a modern look to it infact. However, I wish the language was modernised too. As a non-native English speaker, there's only so much I understand of plays written in the 1500s.


The whole show starts with a rock gig which, to be completely honest, was my favourite part of the play. Oasis, Katy Perry... The artists covered were very ecclectic.

The actors were all fantastic. Shout out to my favourite actor of all times Ben Whishaw who was incredible.

I would recommend the play but to native English speakers only.

Tastemaker

Being part of the mob was amazing! It helped to keep my interest and also gave me a better understanding of what was going on. It’s not for the weak hearted as 2 hours of standing was tough and because they interact around you it can make jump! The acting was great! The theatre is marvellous!

tastemaker

This play for Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar is really good. Offering seated tickets to those who would prefer to sit and be the observers, or standing tickets for those who enjoy to be part of the play, this theatre performance is very immersive with the stage set in the middle of the audience. Smoke, lights, gunshots and lots of action with actors running past you (if you’re the standing audience) occurs throughout the play. All the actors are fantastic. Although set in ancient Rome, modern nuances have been added: modern day references have been introduced such as the raucous and drunken English football supporters. My only suggestion for this play would be that if you’re short or the type of person that doesn’t like standing for approximately 2 hours, rather buy the seated tickets.


Keep your friends close, and the audience closer. 


When I heard that I had standing tickets for Shakespeare I was a little worried I may find myself stuck behind a wall-shaped human who would make it impossible for me to see the celebrity-ridden stage, leaving me to decipher the words of the bard with no context clues. This couldn't have been further from my experience at Julius Caesar. 


Nicholas Hytner expertly brings Shakespeare's tragedy into a modern setting that feels a little too familiar. I would like to say X stole the show, but the truth of the matter is not a single actor outshined their role (I mean that in the best way possible!).


From the opening scene, I knew I was part of the action. I cheered, I booed, I even felt a tear come to my eye. I was pushed, shoved, and moshed, and through it all, I had my eyes on the actors who where were just inches away. Do yourself a favor, and jump on the stage!

Tastemakertastemaker

Get involved! no really, there are seated choices and immersive standing tickets and it is DEFINITELY worth going into the pit to feel part of the crowd in Julius Caesar.  From the start with a band on a make-shift stage, to the end where you are in a warzone, you'll be moving around, engrossed in the spectacle.  It goes without mentioning the the heavy-hitting names within the production mean that the acting is great, but what sometimes can go amiss is the ability to bring the audience along when the entire script is in Shakespearean - no the case with this production.


The set design, the modern-day costumes, the fact that there is no intermission and therefore no breaking of the suspended disbelief is just brilliant.


On a side note, my friend fainted halfway through the show and not only did the show go on, but the theatre staff were absolutely incredible.  I would echo the notes below about checking in everything as it gets VERY warm (as my friend found out).


Go see it - you won't regret it!

tastemaker

When I first entered the stage as part of the immersive audience, I was slightly worried about how the play would turn out. There was a band playing cover songs and they weren't particularly good, and I wasn't sure when this is going to end. And then parts of the stage rose and we see Brutus in his study, a familiar face, and then Casius, also a familiar face from Games of Thrones, and all of my doubts were dissolved. The language is beautiful and understandable (I don't think I've ever seen another version of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, so all fresh to me), the assassination genuinely disturbing to be part of the crowd, feels like being part of a mass shooting. The venue is also really beautiful, right along the river bank at the foot of the Tower Bridge.

Tastemaker

Catch your breath as you walk in, as you won't want to miss a beat! And as Bridge Theatre is cleverly set as a modern amphitheatre, audiences gather round but yet have no idea of what is coming their way. It's full of energy, it's exciting, and it's a true immersive experience that is not intrusive and makes you feel right there in the middle of the action. The pit standing tickets will give you the full experience, but if you feel like 2 hours might be a bit much for your tired old feet, there are seated options too. That being said, prepare yourself to be a part of the crowd, to watch sets unfold right before your eyes and to cheer Julius Caesar as an almost true roman. Amazing cast as performances also make this an unmissable new London treat!

tastemaker

I enjoyed this immensely! The theatre is shiney and new with a lovely big bar/seating area out the front looking out to the river. We had standing tickets and were involved in all the riot/protest/war scenes which was both brilliant and terrifying! 

The set up of the theatre is very good and I can't imagine there are any bad seats in the house. Be prepared for two hours of standing if you're in the rabble but it's definitely worth it!

tastemaker

Everything about this performance was brilliant!


The Bridge Theatre is very modern, brand new in fact, and feels very swanky. We were welcomed with lots of smiling faces and the energy was already buzzing.


The play is a modern day Shakespeare and the themes felt very relevant given all of our political turmoils recently. What I did appreciate was that they did keep Shakespeare's poetic verse, including his dry and sarcastic sense of humor...and there were quite a few laughs throughout! Without this language, I feel it wouldn't have been a modernised Shakespeare and they could have lost the impact he created. 


We had standing tickets, meaning that for the duration of the show (just over 2 hours), we were standing on stage with the actors, making up the crowds on the streets of Rome. You are bustled about and directed around the stage (sometimes a bit too vigorously) as various scene changes mean the staging levels change- sections of the staging rise up or drop down creating a multi-level platform. While I found this really innovative, it did have it's faults. If you happened to find yourself herded to a section that rose particularly high sometimes your view was limited until the scene changed again. It's also a very long time to be standing. 


I've been to immersive theatre performances before and on occasion it's made me feel quite out of my own depth but your involvement is limited to cheering as Caesar is welcomed in or shouting as civil war erupts! 


The casting is fantastic and the acting is superb (as expected). They had my full attention for the entire show. 


Would absolutely recommend you see this show...but maybe go for the seated tickets. 

tastemaker

I absolutely enjoyed my unique, immersive experience at the Bridge Theatre for their mind-blowing play ‘Julius Caesar’.

I haven’t been to a show like this before and it was my first time to see a show at the Bridge Theatre.

The theatre itself is such an intimate, warming and welcoming place. The interior is architecturally intriguing.

I love the use of textile on their lamps that decorated the entire ceiling inside the main floor.

I had the privilege of being part of the production and at the same time act and move around several times during the evening.

It was exciting to be up close to the actors and see them in the flesh giving it their all.

I felt so immersed in this world of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

I really felt part of the whole story. I was transfixed all the way through.

The floor we stood on moved up and down whenever there was a changing of scenery.

It is a suspenseful production and you’ll never know what comes next.

You’ll be surprised every step of the way.

I’d recommend everyone to go and experience such an incredible production.

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from a show like this. The actors really did an outstanding job to pull off this masterpiece of a production.

We were used as part of the story. I really felt like I was there, acting by their side.

Moving around from side to side and being at the stage around the actors is brilliant.

You get a taste of all the action of this modern take on a Shakespeare classic, but two hours and thirty minutes standing is a bit painful.

My back and legs were not having it at all.

This was definitely a one off experience, the level above the stage is a perfect view for sure.

Apart from the standing I absolutely enjoyed myself and it was great to be part of such an adventure with such an iconic cast.

To see Ben Whishaw play ‘Brutus’ was an absolute treat. He is definitely one of my favourite male actors in my opinion.

He displays so much thought and emotion into his character. He oozes a quality that stands out in my eyes.

Two women stood out for me that evening and that was Adjoa Andoh who plays ‘Casca’ & Michelle Fairley who plays ‘Cassius’.

These two characters are originally male figures in the story and to see them being played by female actresses is sensational and hugely inspiring.

Finally in this day of age we can grow as a community and show the world that women can perfectly create a strong impact on a classic like ‘Julius Caesar’.

It wasn’t overrun by men and that to me shows that we are finally moving forwards.

Both Fairley and Andoh were captivating, alluring and truly unforgettable.

I’m so happy to have witnessed such pure talent by two mesmerising women.

David Calder who plays ‘Julius Caesar’ himself is fantastic and puts on a mighty performance for the audience.

This is definitely a theatrical experience not to be missed as it’s only on for a short time.

It’s remarkable to see stories like these being transformed into the modern world we live in today.

#TOTastemaker

Love MD.

tastemaker

Given its story of political mistrust, Julius Caesar is ripe for a modern retelling and that’s exactly what this production does. A Trump-like Caesar is welcomed with much fanfare and the standing audience members in the stalls (‘pit’ would be a more accurate description) play an important part in this scene and throughout other such moments as the famous death of Caesar, funeral and consequent civil war.

But for all those great scenes where the crowd are so integral, there are many long, old English dialogue-heavy scenes of Brutus’ turmoil where standing makes no difference but to remind you that it really would be quite nice to have a seat. Anyone not familiar with the story may struggle to understand all of the script’s nuances and being pushed around by the overzealous in-character security to avoid getting caught out by the constantly elevating floor means certain theatre goers should approach with caution.

Still, when it all comes together it’s very good indeed. I’m still not sure I totally got it though.

tastemaker

Headline: a fantastic production with a few faults - the standing section is not for the fainthearted. 



A modernised and contemporary take on Shakespeare, as an English Lit grad I'm all here for it. The star-cast was definitely also a pull.


Overall I think the play was very good - the level of acting was great. It was emotive and believable and you were truly sucked into their world. I thought the set design was innovative and really well thought out, especially the last scene - where did all that come from! In terms of production, I will go as far as to say that it is possibly the best play that I've seen. 


However, it did have a couple of pitfalls. I was part of the immersive audience that required two hours of standing, which is fine if you're walking around or moving but it did mean standing still for large amounts of time (and I honestly thought my lower back was going to break by the end). I would probably avoid that section if you're not 100% keen on it. I think lowest level seats will provide just a good an experience.   


My second hangup is definitely the traditional Shakespearean language. If you're going to modernise the story to involve guns, a rock concert and modern century modern furniture then I think you should include the language too. I'm not sure if it was meant to be juxtaposed but if you're doing a modern interpretation, then do it, a modern interpretation in every regard. As someone who has actually studied Shakespeare at degree level, I struggled at times to keep up. 


If you're a fan of Shakespeare, modern theatre or immersive experiences then this is definitely big thumbs up for you. 


tastemaker

If you like your Shakespeare traditional, this show may not be for you. But if you want an exciting 21st century treatment of this classic, run to The Bridge box office to get seats or standing tickets for Julius Caesar asap!


Absolutely amazing. Highly stylized, the staging, set, costumes all provide the framework for amazing choreography. 


We had standing tickets which meant we were able to get really close to the action and involved with the storytelling. We were totally at liberty to move and get involved by clapping and shouting. Standing in the middle is where you want to position yourself from the start.


The large cast all play their parts brilliantly. Ben Whishaw’s performance particularly stands out; he commands a powerful presence on stage as the conflicted Brutus, while Michelle Fairley is wonderful as the conspiring Cassius. The two-dimensional leader is a crowd-pleaser, played with more than a bit of slime by a impressive David Calder.


This Julius Caesar is flawless. There is no doubt of that.  It really makes you think “Is Julius Caesar being played out on the world stage right now?”

tastemaker

Following last year's 'out-cry' of Public Theatre's depiction of Trump as Caesar, the red caps in this production at best received some chuckles, but was largely an unnecessary distraction to the performance. The modernisation of the piece was somewhat jarring. It seems to have missed an opportunity to bring it fully to our current time. The acting was solid from all of the cast, including those intermingled into the audience.


The transforming stage is done seamlessly along with the action happening on and around the stage. If you are able to stand for two-hours, it would definitely make a more interesting experience over the seats. Strangely, being immersed within the action of the play somehow drags you out of the suspension of disbelief, as you are constantly aware of your own body. A great experience at a lovely new theatre, would recommend the standing tickets - maybe avoid the hot nuts.

tastemaker

Fantastic production. We were in the pit and the audience involvement kicked off right from the beginning and continued all the way through. The contemporary setting worked well and the actors interacted brilliantly with each other and their audience. We left exhilarated and exhausted (actually quite grateful to sit down for a bit to wait for cloakroom queue to disappear). Very good indeed. Would be a brilliant way to introduce anyone to Shakespeare and the time flew though if you easily tire 2 hours with no interval might be challenging. I suspect the seated option was also very good as the ever changing set and reactive audience dynamic would give a completely different perspective.


Very cool show and The Bridge Theatre is wicked. I had so much fun being in the standing zone right up close and personal with the cast. Loved the interaction but be prepared for a little shoving, darkness and lighting going off. Which might be a little overwhelming for some.

Tastemaker

I didn't know the story of the play prior to my attendance but despite this, I really enjoyed the show. It has been modernised, with costumes in the current fashions, and set and props of a 21st-century nature. It's shorter than I expect the play really is - 2 hours isn't long for Shakespeare - but it is a long time to stand a watch a play, which I did as we were in "the pit". This made our experience of the play slightly more immersive and the actors moved through us to get to the centre of the room where the stage was. At least it was for most of it - the stage moved and adapted for the scene, raising from the floor to elevate the actors, and the stage team bringing in props from the side. At times, the lighting was extremely visceral, the sound mixing very loud and at one stage, a front-line war zone was recreated with smoke which rose up from beneath my feet which was extremely effective.


Ben Whishaw is the chap who will inspire most ticket sales I'd imagine, and he's pretty excellent as Brutus - likeable and calm, though it had always been my impression that Brutus is quite an evil character - though having never read the play I may have that wrong.


I found there were a few modern twists in this play that seemed to reference real like - the campaign for Caesar rang a little similar to the campaign run by Trump, with the campaign baseball hats and the loathing some had for him and the fear of his rise to power. 


I enjoyed this show, it's clever and well acted. I think the set is the most innovative part of the performance, which the theatre lends itself to perfectly. If you have back problems, the standing tickets might not be for you but if you want a different kind of theatre experience I think its worth it.

tastemaker

well. Im going to be the first to give this a bad review and here are my reasons why..... Personally i don't think there should be standing tickets for this play at all. Its 2 hours and you find yourself standing in the same spot for ages with the occasional push and shove to make room for the stage setting.

Honestly i have to say that even though this was star studded i was disappointed. They modernised the death of Julius Cesar and if so they should have altered the speech and style of writing to suit it. It was like watching Shakespeare soliloquising with a gun in his left hand.. It just didn't feel right.

The set was lacking in creativity and effort which was also disappointing. Gutted as some of the actors are great to watch on the big screen and they performed well but this just didn't hit the mark. I even witnessed people leaving as it was just plain boring :(

tastemaker

What an awesome night! The production and cast were excellent. The Bridge Theatre feels intimate, like a modern day Shakespeare's Globe and the central stage was used impressively, changing shape and size from scene to scene thanks to the clever elevating platforms. As part of the immersive standing audience, we were part of the action and seeing the actors so close kept the whole experience rather engaging and exciting. I have not been to anything like this and totally recommend this show to anyone, including those unfamiliar with Shakespeare's work like me.


A quality cast, classic story and visually impressive staging are enough to warrant seeing this production, but it’s the integration of the audience which gives the show its USP. Full review here: http://bit.ly/2nbuTEg

tastemaker

This is an excellent and thrilling production. The stages are cleverly created, but with movement of stage and actor comes movement of standing crowd/audience. No niceties are spared to get us out of the way for steps or stage. Time is of the essence with a moving stage and security and stagehands make sure all runs smoothly which means we, i.e. those standing in the pit, get shoved around. It's actually a lot more comfortable to watch from further back if standing. The sets and effects are very well thought-out and the crowd scenes are hugely realistic. The two hours passes quickly. The acting is superb with names like David Calder, Ben Whishaw, Michelle Fairley and David Morrissey moving the plot forward. This modern, upbeat version of Julius Caesar where men and women have equal standing is most certainly worth seeing and it's no surprise that it was sold out the evening we went.


Haven't been so thrilled in a Shakespeare play since the Almeida Hamlet. Both share the benefit of actors who truly understand Shakespeare and are conmfortable with the language and led by a director who wishes to welcome the audience, rather than lecture them or condescend (or in the case of the RSC production I saw in the theatre, bore them into submission). A beautiful living breathing production that allows the audience to share the play completely with this world class ensemble. While Whishaw is unsurprisingly superb as Brutus (up with the truly great Brutus performances), the revelation is Michelle Fairley as Cassius. This is both a populist and serious production which sets a standard for producing Shakespeare to which I hope other companies will respond. A sixth star would go to the venue.An early contender for best play of 2018 and Whishaw and Fairley as best actors. David Morrissey is terrific of course but if there ever was a man born to play Mark Antony, it is him. He is clearly having a riot in the part. 


DO NOT MISS THIS PLAY if you love Shakespeare and great theatre.

0 of 1 found helpful
tastemaker

Following the increasing success of immersive theatre experiences, this play takes place in a fantastic and very clever way. First of all, the stage is set in the middle of the arena, and it’s made of a series of cubes rising from the floor which configure each scene in a different way. The standing audience is literally pushed aside by the actors whenever a piece of stage needs to be lifted up or set up for the next scene. The public becomes part of this beautifully acted play, a shakespearian classic in a contemporary suit. Not even to mention how amazing are the cast! There are no words to express the incredibly high level of this production, and the amazing performances of the actors, JUST GO and see it! Just be aware that if you get standing tickets you’ll need to check you coats and bag (only phone and water will be let in). Oh and that perhaps you might want to have dinner elsewhere, instead than at the bar of the theatre...!

0 of 1 found helpful
tastemaker

I’m always a bit nervous to see Shakespeare plays for fear of zoning out! However, the accomplished cast and the opportunity to visit the Bridge Theatre, convinced me. I’m really glad I did and I’d see it again.

Firstly, the emphasis in the space is all about the traditions of the old - theatre in the round with people standing in the ‘pit’ – becoming merged with modern theatre staging. The sets literally fall and rise around you and you are in the very thick of the action with cast members moving you from place to place as the action unfolds. Word of warning- that does mean potentially being shoved and bumped into a few times throughout the performance (I had my wine spilled all over me by a charging cast member as soon as the show started), but with the rare thrill of being this close to the action, it’s just about worth it.

As expected the cast are excellent with Ben Whishaw and David ‪Morrissey‬ particular standouts. It’s an energetic and lively production with a sensible 2 hour running time with no interval so the action moves along at a decent pace as well.

See it while you can!

(Be warned - the venue insists on you putting your coats/bags in the cloakroom if you’re in the pit but they don’t have capacity for this at all. Just to put our stuff in there involved queuing for 10 minutes, then being told that one had no more space so we had to then join another queue for the other cloakroom. Not a great start. Expect to be queueing for about 30 mins afterwards to get your stuff back again!)