26th Aug 2012 12:26pm | By Louise Kingsley
Updating and relocating Shakespeare’s historically based tragedy yields powerful dividends in Gregory Doran’s vibrant production.
Set in a modern African state where Brutus and his co-conspirators convince themselves that Caesar, like his immense up stage statue, has turned his back on the ideals that saw him elected.
It gives an immediacy to what can be a rather static work, turning a soothsayer into a dusty, mud-caked shaman who warns Jeffery Kissoon’s arrogant and unheeding Caesar to beware the Ides of March.
In a strong, all-black cast, even the minor roles make their mark – especially Adjoa Andoh as Brutus’s much loved wife and Simon Manyonda’s Lucius, a somnolent attendant more suited to playing music than going to war.
Joseph Mydell’s Casca and Cyril Nri’s Caius Cassius stand out amongst the knife-wielding senators whilst Paterson Joseph’s complex Brutus sweats beads of conscience, which do not deter him from administering a below the belt death blow to the man who thought he was his friend.
And Ray Fearon’s sporty, charismatic Mark Antony, thrillingly addressing the people from on high, exudes the passionate conviction guaranteed to whip the rabble at his feet into a frenzy of retaliation.
Noel Coward, St. Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4AU
Tube: Leicester Square
Until 15th September
£15.00 - £49.50