British Black and Asian Shakespeare Performance Database
Julius Caesar (1979): Nottingham Playhouse
PrJulius Caesar (1979)
PRINCIPAL CAST: Sean Baker (Cassius); John Flanagan (Brutus); James Snell (Caesar); Don Warrington (Mark Antony).
The first performance of this production took place on 7 February 1979.
"The fashionable sales pitch for this year's set book is 'Shakespeare's Play About Power Politics,' which may explain why no one is doing much with that early, revealing soliloquy for Brutus....John Flanagan, in the production by Penny Cherns at Nottingham Playhouse canters through that speech as if clearing the field for the real action. He and Sean Baker's sibilant Cassius are small, earnest men. James Snell's Caesar might be a dull hereditary ruler of around the turn of the present century. The production is set then, in an Italy again poised between romantic idealism and dictatorship; the parallel may fit but is, if anything, more obscure than the original. Some excitement is to be had however. Crowd, murder and battle scenes are given the works; the quarrel between Brutus and Cassius flashes with the brief fire of real love turned dodgy; and Don Warrington's Antony, making phrases to the very end, sometimes lets the language sweep him out of the mundane mould. Don Warrington is black, but the casting looks more liberated than pointed. A better clue to the sort of play Penny Cherns is after is the use of slides to label the scene and very hour (though not the year) two passed between assassination and final battle) of the action [sic]. Did someone mention Brecht?" ~ Paul Allen, Guardian, 7 February 1979
"I came from the theatre weeping with tears, not of joy, but caused by the smoke-making machine which went amok during the battle of Philippi, the 9 p.m. battle, not the 6 p.m. battle. I can be precise about the time because every so often during the evening a small screen descended from somewhere above the stage and told us not only the place of the following scene, but the date (March 15 etc.) and the time. Attention to detail is important, naturally, especially when, as in this production, the players speak every word clearly, and I only have praise for that. This reinforced the impression that this production is intended primarily for children, a worthy purpose, but perhaps less worthy when the children are apparently assumed to be less intelligent than adults." ~ Birmingham Post, 9 February 1979
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