I Came, I Saw, I Was Conquered by Caesar; Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare: Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford
Coveney, Michael, Daily Mail (London)
Byline: MICHAEL COVENEY
THE Royal Shakespeare Company has not had the best of luck with Julius Caesar lately.
But a thrilling new production by Edward Hall - son of Sir Peter, the company's founding director - put that to rights last night.
I have serious doubts about the RSC's new policies. Stabbing people in the back has long been their forte, and here's the play to show how you do what you know best.
With a re-jigged opening and a tightening of the last two acts, the whole shebang is done, without an interval and within two hours 20 minutes, on a virtually bare stage with buckets of blood and Republican chants.
Caesar is assassinated by the faction led by Brutus and Cassius.
Their mantra of Peace, Freedom, Liberty is spelt out in large letters.
But with Mark Antony's famous funeral oration, the mob turns on their saviours.
Friendships fall apart, a new young Caesar (impressive newcomer John Hopkins) emerges in cahoots with Mark Antony.
And the ghost of Ian Hogg's fleshy despot, covered in weals, returns to haunt Brutus, on the eve of battle. …