‘Julius Caesar’ is a harder sell as an outdoor family show than ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, which Principal Theatre Company is staging in Coram’s Fields on alternate days. In response, director Paul Gladwin has put everything in modern dress and upped the comedy quotient.
We get football-style chants at Caesar’s return and a slick-suited Brutus and Cassius plotting his overthrow; this makes for a lively, accessible production, but one with some awkward tonal shifts. There is also a lack of nuance, with Matt Gardner’s gruff squaddie (and Caesar acolyte) Mark Antony lacking the playboy air that leads the conspirators to underestimate him so disastrously. But there’s a nice, sensitive turn from Tobias Deacon as the conflicted Brutus. And he and Annabelle Brown as a pregnant Portia create a touching, believable relationship in their single scene together.
In spite of its flaws, this production goes at a rollicking pace and has some energetic fight scenes, which will appeal to kids.
First published by Time Out