A Brutal Triumph; LESLEY OLDFIELD Reviews the RSC's Julius Caesar, Playing at Newcastle's Theatre Royal This Week

Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England), November 4, 2009 | Go to article overview

A Brutal Triumph; LESLEY OLDFIELD Reviews the RSC's Julius Caesar, Playing at Newcastle's Theatre Royal This Week


IF these were his friends, then Julius Caesar didn't need enemies.

Shakespeare tells the story of the plot to assassinate the Roman leader in 44BC, at the height of his powers... summed up in the Carry On film by the immortal line: "Infamy, infamy, they've all got it infamy!" Brutus in particular loves to praise and honour Caesar, yet he ends up literally sticking the knife in and encouraging his fellow murderers to bathe their hands in blood.

And never mind Kenneth Williams, there are plenty of Shakespeare's famous lines to relish, not least: "Et tu Brute" and his "unkindest cut of all".

Director Lucy Bailey had them fainting in the aisles with her last RSC production, and there's plenty of violence here. However, the blood and gore here is bearable if a little bizarre at one point when a head, apparently severed in battle, is produced from the almost empty stage.

Brutus, played by Sam Troughton - son of actor David, grandson of the second Dr Who, and who played Much in TV's Robin Hood deadly plot, with the encouragement of scheming Cassius.

They all seem to think they are acting for the public good - to stop Caesar becoming a king-like figure and destroying their hard-won republic. …

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